It’s finally over. I had grown weary of having presidential campaign ads interrupting the commercials. As much as I despise commercials interrupting programs, at least they have something concrete to sell like a car or a beer. This seemingly eternal campaign seemed to begin years ago. Indeed, by late October, more than 915,000 campaign messages had appeared on U.S. TV sets – a record that belongs in the Guinness Book of Stupid Records, especially if you analyze the content of the campaign messages: Vote for Beaver’s father (1950s TV), who will fix the economy his big shot investor friends helped break, or vote for the cool guy who only disappointed you.
God forbid, literally, that the candidates should have discussed what scientists repeatedly warn us about: the threats posed by climate change to future human life if we don’t take drastic steps to stop greenhouse gas emissions. Romney even pushed the notion of burning more coal (he claimed it’s clean) and drilling (how thrilling!) for more oil. Obama had done little to curtail the big burners and neither of the two had taken any leadership on the climate change crisis. Indeed, both candidates supported nuclear power expansion. Romney even wanted to get rid of FEMA. Oops! A major sensitivity slip as Hurricane Sandy hit! Obama said “no red tape” in getting help to people.
Obama also said he wanted to finish the job he undertook in 2008, rebuilding the country. How can he do that and continue to pay for the rising costs of the U.S. empire? Romney complained Obama wasn’t spending enough on the military (horses and bayonets cost more these days), and conjured up foreign enemies (Russia and China) whose militaries do not threaten us. Obama insisted that real enemies do exist and he had routinely murdered them with Seals or drones in remote places. Pakistanis, for example, now fear going to weddings lest they get mistaken at Drone headquarters for people going to an Al Qaeda convention.
What didn’t get discussed? The millions of Americans who live in deep insecurity and downright poverty, themes that don’t relate to the ambitions of the aspirants who blather about pseudo patriotic nonsense, but didn’t mention the 2-plus million people in U.S. prisons.
Both candidates also shared close friends among the Wall Street gamblers who had helped precipitate the economic crash. These economy-busting thieves continued to evade arrest, but in Colorado police arrested 210,000 people between 1986 and 2010 for marijuana possession. Colorado’s marijuana possession laws got enforced in a colorful way. Young whites are more likely to use marijuana than any other ethnic group, but African Americans and Latinos made up a disproportionate percentage of those arrested for marijuana possession. An African-American is more than three times as likely to be arrested as the Caucasian, although African-Americans make up less than 4 percent of the state’s population. They account for over 10 percent of the marijuana arrests. A new FBI report states that police arrest someone for marijuana possession every 42 seconds.
The Bureau gives no details on the frequency of banker arrests, but make your own guesses. The candidates did not call for the arrest and prosecution of the muckety mucks on Wall Street for leading the U.S. economy into its sub-prime mortgage calamity. The contenders showed no interest in stopping drone murders or warrantless surveillance, indefinite detention, or racial profiling in the unending war against terrorism.
U.S. reality has grown distant from the babble of self-serving “truths” uttered in campaign rhetoric, where eight Senate candidates agreed that God intended pregnancies resulting from rape. And Romney actually endorsed some of these mountebanks. The fact that abortion has become the lead issue on several political campaigns should shock most of the world’s population. And don’t forget: Jesus told us: “Arm yourselves.”
As millions of Americans suffered eviction as a result of home foreclosure, and countless millions more lost jobs and health plans, while many wait anxiously each day to see if their jobs would remain, the aspiring politicians talked about our great and powerful country, as if such language proved their presidential characters. It’s hard not to note how they avoided issues that grip the guts of a people caught in an economic undertow they cannot control. Romney promised to create jobs, mystically and magically, but offered no plan other than cutting rich people’s taxes. Obama did not return to FDR’s ideas of creating large public jobs’ programs to rebuild the infrastructure.
Mitt Romney displayed, on a secretly recorded video, his for 47% of U.S. citizens, not illogical considering Bain Capital, his private equity firm, enticed reactionary Salvadoran financiers, linked to government-backed death squads, to fund his operation. Paul Ryan’s budgetary ideas offered to undo what’s left of the New Deal and Great Society. Neither candidate refused to take huge campaign contributions from people and organizations. The candidates seemed satisfied with the system of raising large sums of money from super rich people – the essence of U.S. democracy.
On humanitarian and civil liberties questions, neither candidate showed interest in ending the death penalty or reducing the 5,000-plus U.S. nuclear warheads. Obama’s pledge to close the Guantanamo prison and torture center further raised liberal eyebrows, especially after he didn’t do it. But he did brag about killing Osama bin Laden. And Romney didn’t criticize Obama for not trying to bring bin Laden to trial instead of slaying him. Both candidates claimed toughness (bombing on the table) on Iran and boasted that their lips were disgustingly close to Israeli butt. A truly tempting reason to vote for them!
Obama will appoint better judges, more serious people to government agencies like the EPA and NLRB, and not endanger women’s rights. So, I voted for Obama=Bad, rather than Romney=worse.
On Wednesday they told me we’d won. I wonder.
Saul Landau’s FIDEL and WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP are available as dvds from cinelibrestore.com.