Wednesday, November 05, 2008
My Fair Lady - My Speech to the Class of 2099 (More or Less)
It's a remarkable event, one that will puzzle and amuse historians of future generations. What was John McCain thinking in choosing Sarah Palin to be his running mate? What originally appeared to be a reckless, hail-mary move born of desperation grew to a lightning rod for the nation. Palin became an instant hero to the Republican right, and a virtual laughingstock for the rest of us.
Even now, for those of us who kept track of her every move, who watched her two television interviews, it still feels almost surreal. Is Palin really that dumb? Did she really blank out on every question? Does she really not know what the Bush Doctrine is? Does she even read? I've seen some cynical politics in my day; George W. Bush was probably the apex of Republican cynicism, a spoiled lazy brat who couldn't be bothered to pick himself off the street if he wasn't born into wealth. I've never seen anything as shameless and brutally cynical as the pick of Sarah Palin.
This decision summarized our era, the whole period of conservative dominance, the era of the Wrecking Crew. They rule by propaganda and fear, selling the public on one absurd fantasy after another. And for a while it worked. No doubt they hoped they could sucker the masses one more time; just squeeze one more tank out of a broken-down car. It's stunning that McCain came so close to succeeding. This shall forever remain a blemish on the character of this nation.
Thank all that is holy that McCain and Palin were defeated. Had they won, the results could have been catastrophic. May God have mercy on your children if that woman ever gets into the White House and takes the reins of power. But the economic crisis snapped the masses out of their hypnotic daze, and they paid attention. They did the right thing.
I think this is why I'm not as eager to write Palin off. I am hopeful that the conservative era has finally closed, and that the Republican Party remains deeply divided and thoroughly defeated cannot be denied. But look at what they nearly achived. Look at what they almost did with this fool as a candidate. They offered up nothing more than a celebrity prop. If technology advances, the day will come when the Party will offer up a computer-generated character as a candidate, posing as a real person. Hell, 25% of this nation will swallow anything that's being sold by these criminals. Never discount the power of skillful magic tricks.
During the final weeks of the campaign, as the rift between McCain and Palin grew, we heard more and more rumblings from behind the scenes. Rumblings about Palin's sheer ignorance and incompetance, revelations about her lavish spending sprees, stories of an unknown who was primed to be a star, only to buy into the hype. Behold, the reality television candidate. The person you want to have a beer with.
Americans need to be smarter than this. Americans need to be more aware, more mindful, more skeptical. You need to turn off the teevee and learn to function on your own. You've been fed the fantasy from television for so long that you're beginning to believe the fantasy is real, and your own lives are illusion. Television isn't the truth. Television is a damned amusement park.
Sarah Palin, you could say, was the Television Candidate. An instant celebrity machine for the dumb proles; the biggest and brightest of all the reality competitions. Today, it's the singing contest. Tomorrow, the dancing contest. After that, the President! Being President is fun! Because, you know, you can, like, go places, and, like, do stuff. You know....umm, stuff.
Then the stock market crashes and the fantasy crashes hard into that unavoidable force called reality. The Soma of our age works its magic, but reality cannot be denied. The Republicans only hoped they could keep us drugged and dazed for just a little while longer. If you sobered up on November 5, to a Palin in the White House, so what? We win. We got our mandate.
Americans need to be smarter than this. Americans have proven that they will do the right thing, and choose to engage history when the crisis strikes. Thank goodness for that. Will you be smart and wise enough to learn? Will you be able to avoid this fate again? Even if Palin disappears completely, she will be replaced by another drone, another movie prop, another Barbie Doll which was programmed to recite talking points. Will you be smart enough to see through the illusion and reject the fantasy?
For your own sake, kids, you damn well better hope so. You will face this terrible machine at some point during your lives. It doesn't matter which generation I'm talking to. I'm talking to all of you. Yeah, you, the kid in the back row, class of 2099. Sit up and pay attention. This is going on your permenent record. I didn't risk my neck so you could beome another mindless tool. You're going to have to be smarter. Keep your wits about you and you'll be fine. Trust me on that. Good luck.