Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Stupor Tuesday

Digby, (who has turned off commenting apparently because it bugs her when people figuratively yell at each other by hurling photons down fiber optic cables) gives this account of the battle for California's Democratic voters -- Obama reaching past the cerebral cortex to forge a mystic connection with the lizard brain, Clinton's generals meticulously marshalling the troops. Note that in neither case is the election about public policy.

And of course it cannot be. Elections are about very expensive theater, as edited and repackaged by a corporate media with its own bizarre obssessions that have no discernible relationship to any definition of the national interest or the interests of any definable group within society except for their own self adoring selves; and as transmitted directly by the campaigns to the extent they can pay for advertising. Secondarily, once sufficient brains have been rewired by the dramaturgy, the zombies have to be marched to the polls, which is where the military-style organization comes in.

All of this costs immense amounts of money, so that's where it all begins. And that's our form of government -- a moneyocracy.

Now, it does matter whether we have a Democratic or Republican president come January 20. They build their theater around contrasting rhetoric and plot lines, and depend on different categories of people to pay for it, which does mean they have somewhat contrasting broad agendas. It's got to be obvious by now that Ralph Nader was basically wrong about that. The differences are bounded, but they do matter. But while I did vote in the Massachusetts primary, it wasn't a big deal to me. My main motivation was just to increase the recorded Democratic primary turnout.

Election campaigns, and particularly presidential campaigns, are not where issues get decided such as whether or not there will be an individual mandate for health care insurance. I can have an opinion about that but it would be ridiculous for me to choose Hillary or Obama on that basis.

The main point of all this is that I hope nobody thinks they've done their civic duty by voting. Being a citizen means you've absolutely got to work much harder than that -- and not necessarily in electoral campaigns, either. Don't waste time in blathering on the Internet, organize.

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