Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Who shall we choose for our morality?

I'm thinking right now of Hollywood tragedy.

In order to keep my finger on the frankly annoying pulse of British youth, I always try to make sure I see children's television news programme Newsround on BBC1 every weekday at 5.25pm. When I'm not agitated by the programme's fundamental error of giving a voice to pre-teens, I thoroughly enjoy how they try to make current affairs accessible and fun for youngsters. It's been particularly good viewing in the last couple of days as they've desperately tried to describe the ongoing US presidential nomination races, and particularly the events of 'Super Tuesday' (also known as Pancake Day).

They've been describing the polls as "a big competition to decide which person can become President" and "who gets to live in this massive house" [while pointing at the White House]. For those still unable to grasp the concept of an election, they've gone on to say "imagine The X-Factor times a hundred". They saved their most apt analogy, though, for earlier today, when they summarised proceedings in terms of a prolonged wrestling match with Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama in the blue Democrat ring and John McCain (the man we have to thank for microwavable chips), Mitt Romney (who sounds like a substitute CD-ROM designed for people wearing mittens) and Mike Huckabee (a blatant religious fascist) in the red Republican ring. Strangely enough, the accompanying cartoon graphic on the screen had each prospective nominee wearing boxing gloves and throwing punches, which means either the Newsround VT team don't know what wrestling involves, or I don't. I THINK IT'S THE FORMER.

Despite this clear error, I still doff my flat cap to Newsround for coming up with one of the most appropriate metaphors for American politics ever known. Professional wrestling is a false, stage-managed charade performed by actors with no real purpose in life other than to create wealth for those with a financial stake in the wrestling process. I'm sure you understand what I'm getting at here. Don't get me wrong: I'm as delighted by the prospect of seeing the back of George W. Bush and potentially the rampaging elephant beast (the Republican Party) itself as the next person is. But any hope that any one of the contenders for either party will offer some form of 'change' if elected President is, of course, massively misplaced. Experience should have taught us that by now. Regardless of who becomes the next President, the United States will continue as the globe's leading bastion of dysfunctional democracy and its political process will continue to operate in a body scissors lock of private, corporate gain which dictates the political agenda and ensures wealth remains in the hands of the few. As usual, Bill Hicks summed this all up best.

Example #1:
I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here.
'I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.'
'I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.'
'Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!'

Example #2:
It's just a handful of people that run everything, and that's provable.... I have this feeling that whoever's elected president, like Clinton was, no matter what promises you make on the campaign trail - blah, blah, blah - when you win, you go into this smoky room with the twelve industrialist, capitalist scumfucks that got you in there, and this little screen comes down... and it's a shot of the Kennedy assassination from an angle you've never seen before, which looks suspiciously off the grassy knoll.... And then the screen comes up, the lights come on, and they say to the new president, 'Any questions?'

'Just what my agenda is?'

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