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2008 April 13 Sunday
Thinking About America's Vacuous Election

Are you confused by American electoral politics? Do you wonder just where did the rational arguments run off to? I don't think they ran off to the fall-out shelter. That was another era when reason had a place to run to. No, the answer is much worse: We've been feminized and Oprah-fied. Don't believe me? Oprah's endorsement of Obama was big news. If afternoon talk show fluff was treated really as fluff then that endorsement would have meant squat. Dennis Dale looks at the vacuousness of Obama mania.

"What did he say?"

"His is a rare eloquence. He struck just the right note of conciliation while still expressing the anger of black America without all the, without all the anger."

"There's a neat trick. But I thought he was addressing some controversy or other."

"Yeah, the Clintons played the race card. Just reprehensible. I'm sickened."

"What's this? The same Hillary the Great as you've characterized her BO?"

"BO?"

"Before Obama. Everything changes AO. It's a whole new paradigm. An exciting time."

"Yes, it's amazing how much of an impact he's had already. To think that some would deny him the presidency! I swear, if we fail to elect this man for the first time in my life I will be truly ashamed of my country."

People do not want to think about weighty bummer issues like Iraq or America's demographic decay or unfunded old age entitlements liabilities. No to all that. Much more enjoyable to think about "Hope!" and "Change!" and "lets show everyone how unracist we are!" and other fluff pretty much aimed at feeling good about oneself. The purpose of an election then becomes a sort of national group therapy session.

The fact that elections are between a small number of candidates tempts those who want to look at politics as all about personalities and relationships. The tendency is to turn an election into a week day afternoon talk show for ladies who have too much time on their hands. How does he feel about what she said? How does he feel about what she said? Can we get other personalities on the air to dissect the personalities that are running? Can some of those talking heads be really gushing and enthusiastic for those who just want to hear reasons to feel good? The top candidate then becomes the one who can generate the most positive emoting. That's where we are.

The Presidency used to be a serious office. During the Monica Lewinsky scandal I think its main purpose started to shift toward producing material for pop psychology gossipers. I wonder whether serious thinkers will simply withdraw from discussions about politics and the political realm will become an emotional circus show.

By Randall Parker    2008 April 13 11:03 AM Entry Permalink | Comments (20)
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