Thursday, January 03, 2008

Through the Looking-Glass

I've worked hard to avoid the caucus news wafting out of Iowa, like the hazy shimmer of heat lines drifting up from the chimney-stack of an Ames outhouse on a chilly January day, about this idiocy. Chris Hitchens, sad Brit-expat-and-professonal-drinker that he is, pretty much says all that needs to be said about this ludicrous Tammany-hall, junior-high-school-prom-dance-partner-picking nonsense here. And my interest in the primaries can't, honestly, afford to be too high: Oregon's presidental primary is the sixth from last - yes, you heard right: we're Number 44, baby! - in the nation. After getting sloppy forty-fourths...well, really. Who fucking cares? Our votes will be meaningless unless we pile onto the winning float...

But the whole caucus race is's put it in perspective: in 1984 it gave us Democrats Walter Fucking Mondale! Well, fucketty fuck, that pretty much says it, doesn't it?

So I am officially saying I don't give a rat's patootie who "wins" the moronic Iowa Democratic caucuses. So there.


The Republican caucuses? THEM, I care about. And it's because of what I understand about the GOP of 2008.

Because, you see, the Grand Old Party, the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, has become a grating, small-minded rabble of tax-cutting, war-loving, homo-hating C.H.U.D.s whipped to a masturbatory frenzy by wingnut hate radio like Coulter and Limbaugh. The Party of Emancipation has become a party of intellectual constipation, ready to anoint an evolution-denying Cristopath as their political leader. What kind of people are today's Republicans? Let me tell you story.

This past year Oregon's legislature passed a law. It was a nice little law, inoffensive and meek, meaning and giving no harm to anyone. All it did was let people who cared for each other, but weren't married, care for each other. Do things like sign permission slips, medical releases and funeral arrangement forms. Simple, practical, everyday life stuff. It was billed - mostly by people who liked it - as a "gay rights" law, but the practical purpose was much more commonsensical: it got the State of Oregon out of something it really had no business being in in the first place, the marriage business.

Let's face it: marriages are a personal matter, a family matter. We've loaded them down with all sorts of legal and governmental furbelows because we're lazy and don't want to think more than we have to. But, really - why is it the business of my government to determine what makes my marriage a "marriage" but not the "marriage" of the unwed couple down the street who've been ol' man and ol' lady since, like, the Kennedy Administration? The gay couple raising the kids in our daycare? The folks from Polynesia who have a couple of husbands and a wife in the big house over by McKenna Park?

So this legislation got the state out of the marriage business and in the business of what is important to a state: figuring out who gets what stuff, who cares for who and who signs the paperwork. You don't need a marriage for that - just a legal paper that says, we're a team.

The problem was that, like the people who liked this law, the people who hated it saw it as a "gay rights" law. Now most of these people are conservative Republicans, many of them fundamentalist "Christians" who see hatin' homos and keeping anything useful and good out of the reach of homos part of what Jebus tol' them to be doin'. So these people, these mostly-Republican, mean, small, hardhearted, softheaded little people, got a bunch of names on paper to force the rest of us to vote on what should be a simple matter for our legislators to handle. And this tactic appars to have worked. No one will be able to register as "domestic partners" this month, or maybe until next year, or maybe never, if these people have their way.

That's the sort of people who are today's Republican Party. interest in the lives of Iowa Republicans is, like their interest in the lives of homosexuals, atheists and pacifists, purely spiteful. I'm hoping for a big win for Huckabee, frankly, because that fucking Jesus freak is going to be un-fucking-electable, even in the debased coin that is our Republic, circa 2008. Huckabee could be the Republicans' Mondale, and I hope he will be.

Because, you see, it's no longer possible to be a Good Republican and a Good American. Mr. Cheney and his sock puppet have seen to that. To be a Republican nowadays you have to stand up for relentless greed-is-good-tax-cuts, more rubble = less trouble, kicking ass on the homos and beaners and ragheads, more tax cuts, corporate welfare, deregulation, still more tax cuts, prayer, Jesus, Jesus getting a tax cut, Jesus wanting you to be rich (and white), secret prisons, "harsh interrogation" (but never torture!), some tax cuts for the really, really rich, wiping the President's ass with the Bill of Rights, and, um, how about some more tax cuts?

Rule of Law? Only for the Little People. Liberty? Fugeddaboutit. Freedom from Fear? Only if we're not in an election year.

I understand that Herbert Hoover was a genuinely decent man, and that his actions after the Crash of 1929 were far from the "let them eat cake" picture that his political enemies drew of him. But sometimes the real image is less true than the fiction. The lesson the American people drew from the Depression - that the Republican Party in the Thirties chose to protect the powerful and wealthy at the expense of the poor and weak - was a better summation of the difference between the parties than the details of Hoover's signing the Revenue Act of 1932. Because, in general, the Republican Party then - as the GOP has now - chose to govern to the benefit of the few, the few that Mr. Bush famously called "my base...the haves and the have-mores..."

Americans in the Thirties drove those elitist Republican traitors to the American Dream into the wilderness for a generation.

I hope that Americans today will have the same strength..and Republicans, the same weakness.


Wendy said...

I've been a lurker for awhile, but I just wanted to chime in and say that I'm an Iowa Democrat. I know our caucus sounds ridiculous, and it has been a long time since we've picked a 'winner'. But there is something so inspiring about walking into a room filled (and from what I could tell last night was record attendance but that's not official)with your friends and neighbors and knowing that they all are informed, give a damn, and care about what happens to our country. We all take our caucus responsibility very seriously!

Oh! And I've never seen an outhouse in Ames. Just sayin'! :)

FDChief said...

Wendy: I think it's terrific that the caucus is an exciting event for you, and I don't want to detract from your excitement. But to think that 200,000 voters can, through a process that practically begs to be skewed by influence, public pressure and hard political graft, have such a huge impact on the national policies of a political party...I'd call that a bad idea. And I'm not the only one: it's worth noting that the caucus system, which was the idee fixe' of the 19th Century, survives in less than a handful of states.

I'm sure you caucussers are and were very serious, and I can only applaud your energy at a time when most Americans wouldn't cross the room to vote if there was money in it. But I still hold my original opinion: the caucus system is fundamentally flawed, as flawed as the direct appointment of senators, and, like the old senatorial nomination process, should be defenestrated.

And I've never even BEEN to Ames...the image was pure rhetorical tricksterism at its worst. My apologies to the good people of Ames, who, I have no doubt, do their business in toasty indoor luxury as all of us surely hope to do.

Thanks for stopping by!