Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blood and Guts Politics in America

We Americans are a bellicose bunch. All in all we really don't like each other very much. The "I've got mine, so fuck you" attitude that many here carry around lends itself quite seamlessly to multiple gun ownership and rabid support for it. It's no wonder that our politics are so full of vitriole and hate. It's simply an extension of our desire to shoot one another.

A great number of Americans retain the old wild west, shoot from the hip cowboy, persona that has been reflected quite aptly by the current presidential administration. John McCain hopes to carry that tradition forward for another 4 to 8 years.

Yes. Many Americans may publicly complain about negative attack ads, but they do tend to lap them up with a similar enthusiasm as those who used to attend public executions and lynchings. Obviously, we're not alone in this. Remember scenes of beheadings performed during breaks in soccer matches in Afghanistan by the Taliban. When the sword came down, the cheers went up. The French loved to watch the guillotine in action, but of course to be fair, that was 200 years ago.

Now, in the U.S. we don't publicly execute criminals any longer, although there are some who ardently wish we did. Lynchings are rare. Generally, the news media take great pains to prevent explicit scenes of violence from hitting the airwaves. I saw Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswalt live on TV. With the standard 7 second tape delay utilized for virtually all so called live television broadcasts , such a thing will likely never be seen here in the U.S. again. We Americans just don't get to see much blood letting.

Aside from sports and some so called "reality" TV, there's not much we can see that will satisfy our lust for blood and gore. I suppose that's why "hack-em up" horror flicks are so popular, but they ultimately aren't very satisfying because after all, it's just make believe. Hell, now that Mr. Blackwell has shuffled off his mortal coil, we won't even get his killer "worst dressed" lists anymore. We can only hope that another smug, condescending "fashion maven" will take up the Blackwell gauntlet.

Political campaigns are about the nearest we get to a blood sport (that's not actually a sport, anyhow.) Generally, the most we can hope for is a cutting sound bite. Unfortunately, while we begrudgingly settle for such moments to sate our hunger for political "red meat," our country is tumbling willy-nilly over the waterfall, its arms and legs flailing helplessly about on the verge of being smashed on the rocks below.
The Photo: Sadly, I was not quick enough to get a shot of this lovely lady from the front. As she walked passed my wife and I after the Indianapolis Obama rally last week, I smiled and waved at her. She answered saying with a scowl: "Obama Bin Laden," spat on the ground and slammed her staff down on the asphalt walk for effect. Hooray for our side!

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