Thursday, April 10, 2008

What the 2008 Election Is All About (Butler Shaffer)

Butler Shaffer says the election is certainly not about actual issues:

Those who have yet to understand the vacuous nature of electoral politics need only pay attention to the current presidential circus. I don't know what additional evidence would need to be presented to demonstrate how elections serve but one purpose: to reinforce the delusion that members of the public have anything to say about the nature of the government that rules them. Anything disruptive of the placid mindset upon which the Establishment has grounded its domination of others must be eliminated. This is why Ron Paul has been dealt with as he has by the lapdog media.

There was a time - even during my adult years - when genuine issues were discussed. But no more. Issues are divisive, weakening of the importance of "bipartisanship" (i.e., the one-party, Republocratic commitment to Establishment interests). One saw the early stages of the collapse of issues two decades ago, when presidential campaigns focused on such weighty matters as the parole of Willie Horton, or the importance of the "pledge of allegiance." There was even a time - 1964 - when the fear that Barry Goldwater might use nuclear weapons in Vietnam helped to decide an election. In 2008, the fear that a candidate might NOT want to use nuclear weapons (e.g., on Iran) may decide the presidential election.

If issues are to be avoided, what, then, of questions regarding the character or beliefs of the candidates? Oh, that amounts to "mudslinging" and "smearing" and is to be condemned.

This leaves us with what the 2008 presidential election has become: a plebiscite on political correctness. Are we to elect a "woman" or a "black" as president, or are we to continue electing "old, white men" to this office? Minds that have been conditioned by government schools and television to awaken or go to sleep on cue, will be asked to stumble into voting booths to select the image - not principles - that best suits them. Keep in mind that this process will have absolutely nothing to do with how the government will operate: that decision was made a long time ago by the corporate owners of the Establishment. The election will be as relevant to your life as the outcome of an "American Idol" contest. The upcoming "debates" will be as empty-headed as the inquiries made of beauty contestants: "if you had but one wish, . . ."

In our Marshall McLuhan universe, public opinion polls have become substitutes for critical thinking. This election will amount to little more than a popular referendum on whether people prefer the mindset of Oprah Winfrey or Bill O'Reilly.

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