Author Topic: Politics as suicide  (Read 4585 times)

Mandos

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Politics as suicide
« on: September 08, 2008, 12:55:36 AM »
Lord knows most of those who post to a site like this have had far more reasons to despair about the world than to hope, not least over the past few years.  And yet---it seems that McCain has a chance to win in the US, and Stephen Harper has a shot at a majority government.

So, there's a lot of stages of grief that some of us go through about this sort of thing.  And some of them, at least for me, involve wondering whether everyone around me is from the same planet I am.  I mean, Harper's policies and beliefs are the same toxic mix that have held down real wages in the USA and elsewhere.  

So why would people vote for him?

Now, they could be ignorant or dumb.  But I have another theory.  What if...people actually, in the aggregate, knew what they were doing, and did it anyway.  Yes, did it knowing that they might be victims, but doing it anyway.

What if this world is exactly like what a majority of voters wanted it to be, their own suffering included?

Or, they could just come from another planet.

skdadl

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2008, 08:43:56 AM »
People respond to con messages for different reasons because the messaging works at different levels and people hear the range they're tuned to -- I think that's more the way I understand self-destructive voter behaviour.

There are, of course, the people who will actually benefit from con policies, but they are, as we know, The Few.

Then there are the people who've absorbed some of the classic American Dream. They think that they will be among the exceptions, that they will be able to make it and that making it is what life is all about. The vast majority of these people are deluded about statistical realities, but the success of just enough of them keeps the illusion alive.

People who are just doing ok and are happy with just doing ok aren't interested in hearing any of the bad news. They keep themselves uninformed on purpose because thinking would give them wrinkles. Remember the scene in Annie Hall where Allen walks up to a happy and beautiful young couple and asks them how they do it, how they manage to look happy and carefree together, and the woman (I think) replies, "Because we're shallow?" (And she does do it with uptalk as I recall.) I know many people like this.

And then there is the politics of resentment. A lot of people who are in real trouble stop thinking rationally and revert to the memes of childhood and tradition. Some of those are rosy-cosy, but in North America most are punitive (and worldwide that's probably true too). The classic is bootstraps psychology. Just work hard and keep your nose clean, and you'll be ok. You might even make it. And those guys who are really down, who need health care and welfare and everything else that strong public systems can deliver? Well, they must be slackers. They aren't doing what WE are doing, which is working hard and keeping our noses clean. And if we end up in misery as bad as theirs, that's probably their fault too -- we all got taxed to death or something. And besides, they're wasting their time on sinful lifestyles. Und so weiter, und so weiter ... you know the drill.

There are, unfortunately, an awful lot of people in that kind of real trouble in the U.S., and there are some here. Conservatives find it very easy to pitch to those people, unfortunately.

I would disagree with your remark in the other thread that the left has not been "agile" enough to counter all this. What I described above is life under capitalism. That's the way the game is set up. There's no puzzle about why the left is beleaguered under capitalism: the capitalists run the show, eh?

brebis noire

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2008, 09:00:19 AM »
At the risk of bringing religion into this, I think it has to be said. The right has at least three decades' worth of commandeering the religious angle, and that is significant. Of course, I'm talking about populist religion, which has less and less to do with religious orthodoxy and very little to do with spirituality. With Palin's speech and the whole RNC last week, it's pretty obvious that it has devolved into empty, dishonest rhetoric, exploitative showiness and just plain mean-spiritedness.

Having commandeered the religious angle, this means that they not have not only corralled people who are already organized into a community, but they have also taken control of language that relates to morality, family, purpose and hope. This has left much of the left out in the dark, rhetorically and organizationally speaking. Not that much to do with reality of course, but it's a political reality and an ideological force.

On the bright side, they've already taken it as far as it can go; they can't do any more, and they are (I strongly believe) losing momentum on this end. I don't know about the US vis-à-vis the Repugs, but in Canada, a lot of religious so-cons doubt Harper's sincerity - because he is attempting to appeal to the "secular majority" in Canada, and because he's perceived as essentially not one of them. I think there's a lot of room for the left to poke huge holes in the religious angle, not just by attacking and exposing hypocrisy, but also by claiming a social gospel or universalist heritage that was somehow abandoned along the way, or just crushed by the morality forces. I'm pretty sure the tide is slowly turning; it has to, it's inevitable.

fern hill

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2008, 09:13:01 AM »
Then there's the negative. I cringe when Jack or any of the NDP say 'ordinary Canadians'. Thank gawd they seem to have dropped 'working families'. The idiotic issues they grab -- ATM fees. The left can be downright dorky. They look like losers and people don't want to be associated with loser dorks.

fern hill

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2008, 12:22:29 PM »
I guess this thread is appropriate for this question. Has anybody remarked how many candidates have quit or been asked to quit? All parties, it seems. With varying degrees of trouble: criminal charges, pot smoking, nekkidness, etc etc.

k'in

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2008, 12:56:40 PM »
I was thinking about this earlier today.

I came to the conclusion that while it's horrible for democracy the Conservatives were smart to run an invisible candidate (name on the ballot only) last election in my riding.  I think they're doing the same thing this time around, not sure, haven't seen even one sign. They didn't have a hope in hell on winning so doing the cost/benefit analysis thing it's better to pass on the dollars/per vote (maybe they would have got 15% of the vote instead of less than 10%) but the potential cost of a gaff would have been much more.  

Of course, that doesn't explain why they ran a wingnut in Toronto Centre against Bob Rae.

sparqui

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2008, 01:05:18 PM »
If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a tractor. -- Gilles Duceppe

deBeauxOs

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2008, 01:19:09 PM »
Quote
"He has a coalition with the nudist's party. He has a coalition with the marijuana party and maybe now with the Sept. 11 conspiracists' party."
:tinfoil:

fern hill

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2008, 01:24:41 PM »
I posted this link to the criminal in Nova Scotia yesterday in the Women's Issues thread. We should compile them. Compare and contrast, as dBO's been doing at BP.  :twisted:

deBeauxOs

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2008, 01:27:48 PM »
Now if only I could find a photo of the elusive Rosamond Luke ....

Antonia

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2008, 02:10:02 PM »
It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the "dark shade of courage" alone that the spell can be broken.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld

fern hill

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2008, 02:14:34 PM »
Paydirt! From Antonia's link:

Quote
The association received $132,700 of a $142,700 federal grant from Status of Women Canada and about $19,000 of a $40,000 grant from the IWK Health Centre.

This is what the Gnu and Improved Status of Women is funding?!?!

deBeauxOs

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2008, 02:31:59 PM »
Where's alisea?  Perhaps she can dig up a pic of Rosamond Luke?

fern hill

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2008, 03:18:06 PM »
There's a picture in Antonia's Halifax Chronical link.

Antonia

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Re: Politics as suicide
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2008, 03:59:02 PM »
It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the "dark shade of courage" alone that the spell can be broken.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld

 

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