Thursday, 8 November 2012

Election Part I: The Good

[First of three parts]

Some good news from Tuesday: the American people are not completely insane. This is good. This is a good thing. It is also a very modest thing given our collective future, roughly comparable to feeling satisfied that your liver spots are not Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Or feeling a warm glow over the fact that your children do not inject crystal meth. Nothing wrong with that. But limited.

Only the demented could have welcomed a President Romney, a candidate who promised, with trumpets, that he would set about to strip them of their remaining assets and transfer said wealth to people like himself. Happily, we have proven ourselves temporarily free of that psychosis. Nonetheless, this malady was manifested by a significant minority of the populace, many millions of whom now will complain loudly if the government benefits they just repudiated do not suit them.

Another good thing to add to our repudiation of mental instability: rape still is considered by a wide majority not to be normal or to involve in any way the will of ‘god’. Also, women’s vaginas are understood not to be capable of distinguishing between the penis of a rapist and that of a bank president or a member of the Rotary Club. Rather, most Americans, particularly females, retain a rather protective feeling toward this zone and think that unauthorized entry therein should remain a matter of grave public concern. Those not adhering to this view are considered, for the moment, beyond the pale. Rah.

Further positive news: homosexual behavior, including the matrimonial version, once a sure-fire generator of horrified alarm in church basements throughout the land, has become remarkably mainstream. It has been defanged as an issue by three decades of repetitive exploitation and by effective push-back deployed by well-heeled, well-organized, savvy, and impassioned defenders of human sexual rights. Another factor in lesbian and gay respectability is those communities’ noble and expert response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a landmark in public health activism.

Thus the long, demoralizing culture wars, artfully mined by the Christian politico-preachers and their GOP empresarios, have ground to a stalemate. No longer can the call of 1980 against homos, amnesty and abortion guarantee electoral success. But wait! Amnesty is back, just with a different alleged beneficiary: instead of war resisters, the enemy du jour is undeserving, dark-skinned immigrants. That one will take a bit longer to undo although the growing Hispanic vote may focus the Republican mind before too long.

But the most gratifying aspect of Tuesday’s climax is the public’s capacity, not yet lost, to perceive the elite rich for what they are: smug, disconnected, selfish, entitled and clueless. As Dana Milbank reported in the Washington Post, Romney told reporters sitting in his (coach section) campaign aircraft that one of his first acts as president would be to buy another Weimaraner, a pricey hunting dog once bred by European royalty.

Dear merciful God, Jesus and all the saints! Was he also planning to don one of those funny English riding hats and carry a crop? Maybe to his inauguration? You cannot top self-cariacature, and luckily for our reasserted sanity, we won’t have to witness it.

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