FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Schwarzenegger and the Lottery Society

California has just elected an adolescent fantasy as governor. One imagines fans, used to paying for Schwarzenegger’s image projected on a screen, leaving rallies feeling blessed at having glimpsed him in the flesh–dyed hair, induced tan, eyebrow-waxing, capped teeth, and all–much as winners from a church bingo go home feeling blessed.

The model for American society is fast becoming a set of gigantic lotteries, the final reduction of the American Dream. While I dislike most nonsense about dreams and visions, at least the line about the American Dream did recall an epic struggle in a brave new world with its waves of vibrant, migrant population.

For years now there has been a growing view in America that opportunity consists in every citizen getting a lottery ticket for some dazzling pay-out. It’s an idea implicit in think-tank pamphlets and in the behavior of many American corporations. Of course, lotteries only work because almost everyone loses, but they are fun along the way, taking your mind off unglamorous reality, and anticipation is hyped-up for each new draw.

The lottery-society idea now has been extended from the economy to government itself. The people of California voted to eject as governor a perfectly competent man overtaken by a wave of adverse economic change. Never mind allowing him to make changes and adjustments–that is, allowing him to govern. Never mind orderly government. He’s a loser, get rid of him. We want it all, and we want it now. In his place, bets are placed on a celebrity whose every utterance is a cut-and-paste slogan from the Internet site of some American think-tank.

And it doesn’t seem to matter that his past is littered with nasty behavior. The right-wing is like that: ceaselessly preaching morality, but when one of its own is caught, as it were, with his pants down, he always somehow still qualifies to govern.

The current President had a history of substance abuse and rich-boy drifting, but a few mumbled references about the Lord made him a Christian warrior-President. And so Schwarzenegger’s life-long lousy behavior towards women and past Hitler-admiration are swept away. I don’t know that he ever mentioned the Lord during his campaign, but clearly he is needed for the Lord’s work.

Despite the tired slogans of his campaign, Schwarzenegger’s opening gambit, as of this writing, is to demand money from the President for California’s financial plight. Now there’s an original idea. I wonder how many drawling, sputtering Republicans over the last thirty years have excoriated liberals about money and “the damned fed’rah gov’ment”? Well, this is a sophisticated new breed of Republicans. They’ve discovered a magic formula: it’s okay to spend more, lots more, as long as you also cut taxes.

Of course, Schwarzenegger will have an entree at the White House the former Democratic governor could never have had, but it does seem an awkward time to ask for money. The new Governor may have to stand in a long line of diplomats from countries seeking early installments of their War on Terror bribes, from Pakistan, Turkey, and Poland to some thirty or forty others. There are scores of corporate representatives lined-up, wanting their first bloated payment for screwing in light bulbs or replacing taps at American headquarters in Iraq. There’s also an impressive contingent looking to donate to the President’s upcoming campaign, providing some understanding over contracts in Iraq can be reached.

Well, Schwarzenegger probably will get in ahead of some of these people. Bush does want a warm greeting in California during the re-election campaign. Could it be that the principled Schwarzenegger is using political leverage for a bribe? No, this is the business of the nation, as conducted between Republican governments.

Well, a no-account, ranting, army-nut drifter in Germany about seventy years ago did set Germany back on the rails from the Great Depression, just before he proceeded to blow up the entire rail system.

People do get the government they deserve, and California has elected a circus, complete with heady whiffs of elephant manure and an obscene cabaret act. My God, there’s even America’s Political Gothic, the ghastly Borgia clan from Massachusetts, taking bows as toothy, sequined performers, drawn to new sources of power the way vampires are to fresh blood.

Oh well, they can always have another recall, can’t they?

JOHN CHUCKMAN lives in Canada. He can be reached at: chuckman@counterpunch.org

 

More articles by:

John Chuckman lives in Canada.

April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman - TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail