maandag 22 februari 2010

Gekkenhuis Politici

In Nederland lijken steeds meer politici in steeds toenemend tempo de weg kwijt te raken, anderen gaan vastbesloten in een bepaalde richting maar verliezen alle gevoel voor fatsoen en/of het benul dat er uiteindelijk toch min of meer samengewerkt zal moeten worden om iets van beklijvend resultaat te kunnen boeken.

Er werd (en wordt) vaak gesteld dat "alles wat in Amerika gebeurt, later (bijvoorbeeld 10 jaar) ook bij ons staat te gebeuren". Als dat zo is, dan kunnen we onszelf maar beter wapenen voor barre tijden... Want al zit er in de VS al ruim een jaar een uiterst charismatische president, die hyper-intelligent en erg geneigd is tot samenwerken, e.e.a. natuurlijk in tegenstelling tot de koekenbakker die bij ons nu juist voor de vierde keer gevallen is en die meer gemeen heeft met Obama's voorganger 'W', de in zijn voegen krakende democratie in Amerika toont vrijwel iedere dag toch nog steeds wat meer barre staaltjes dan wat er hier gemeengoed begint te worden. Je vraagt jezelf dus wel eens af wat mensen toch bezielt om politicus te willen worden, en tegelijk is natuurlijk de hamvraag: "welke politicus gaat ons in hemelsnaam terugbrengen op het juiste spoor?!"

Hieronder een column van Mark Morford, een razende schrijver van de San Francisco Chronicle over juist die laatste vraag.

===== Mark Morford's Notes & Errata ===== - Friday, February 19, 2010

All politicians are madhouse freaks
By Mark Morford
Is that headline overstating things just a little? Do you think I am perhaps engaging in a small amount of hyperbole to draw in your jaded eyeballs and make an otherwise obvious point? You might be right. Then again, perhaps you are not.
Fact is, I think you sort of agree. I think you understand it's not really that far from the absolute truth; all politicians really are freaks, completely and down to the very bone. They are freaks not merely because they must be so in order to be drawn to such a heartless, ruthless, bizarre, meat-sucking, powermad soul-death of a slime-laden profession in the first place, but because -- no, wait, that's about it. That's the reason.
Moderate Democrat Evan Bayh is leaving the Senate. Did you hear? His announcement of not being at all interested in licking Congress' malicious bootheels anymore is now causing quite the uproar, largely because Bayh is youngish and handsome and smart and well-connected; he was one of Obama's top-tier choices for VP, and he seemed ideally groomed for bigger and better things in the political sphere.
Why the hell would he give all that up, the power and prestige, the fame and the acclaim, the hookers and the nubile pages, the Cuban cigars and the kickbacks? Is some sort of scandal looming? Drug addiction, perhaps? Did he have sex with Tiger Woods? I mean, powerful, connected, well-liked guys like that don't just leave. Do they?

His answer is ridiculously simple and, if true, makes all sorts of depressing sense. Bayh says he is not running for re-election because Congress has become far too acidic, poisonous, "brain-dead partisan," ineffectual, useless, mean-spirited and polarized. Nothing gets done. There is no discussion, no more middle ground. There is no working together to solve anything, for anyone, at any time. Same as it ever was? Well, yes. Only now, far more so.
There was a poll, a fairly significant one but also fairly plain, saying things you already suspected but perhaps hoped were getting better, even though you suspect they are not.
Part of what this poll revealed is that a mere eight percent of Americans want the current members of Congress to be re-elected. Which appears to be another way of saying a whopping 92 percent of the country wants Congress gone. All of them, each and every one. Because, as noted, nearly all of them are ruthless schizoid madhouse freaks. And not in the good way.
Is that not startling? Is that not amazing, our near-unanimous abhorrence of our own government, of the people we the people put in power to lead us?
I already know your answer: nope, not surprising at all. You might then rightly ask, are we alone in this? Is there a populace anywhere in the world that deeply loves its elected leaders, one that's proud of and happy with a majority of its officials?
Answer: sort of. Sure, hating politics is damn near universal, and appears to be second only to expecting them to be good and decent and get everything done for us. Then again, the U.S. is down near the bottom insofar as believing our leaders have our best interests at heart at any given moment. First-world power and influence, third-world corruption and mistrust.
Bayh echoed that selfsame poll when he suggested the only way to "fix" Congress might be to vote all the jackals, special interest shills and fringe nutballs out of both parties, and then vote in an entirely new cadre of untainted humans, real reformers, people who know how to work together and make things happen, sans the bickering and acid and hookers and handouts.
You can see the problem right there. Who the hell might that be, exactly? Where do we find people like that? Do they even exist? Have we not already established the fact that American politics, as it is now designed, largely draws freaks and gladhanders, shysters and fools?
One of the ways to make politics appeal to fair-thinking, good-souled, college-educated intellects would be to start with something even mildly radical -- like, say, campaign finance reform, perhaps disallowing vicious corporations to buy and sell a given candidate like a brainless toy. Yes, that might help. Hello, Supreme Court? Here is your giant middle finger. Love, America.
Let me be clear: Well do I know there are a handful of very smart and very well-intentioned politicians -- mostly local, some state -- who get into it for a genuine love of people and community, and because they truly want to make their town, their schools, the world a better place.
Of course, it seems they don't last long. They get sucked into the guts of the machine, and their ideas get filleted, and their families and personal lives are destroyed by a billion slings and arrows from outrageous bloggers and Fox News imbeciles, and in order to survive at any length and be reasonably effective, they and their souls get slowly eaten alive by angry gnats.
Which brings us, naturally, to President Obama, quite possibly the least freakish, slippery, pre-devoured politician to ever grace the Oval Office -- which, in truth, sort of baffled everyone, in the beginning. "What the hell is a smart, attuned, deeply intelligent, meta-calm community organizer dude doing wanting to run the country, in that ocean of snakes?" millions of us who voted for him asked in wondrous, mystical disbelief. "How long can such a person possibly last in that rare, impossible state of utopian goodness before being sucked into the hate-filled congressional vortex?" we added, fearfully.
Answer: not long, apparently. To be sure, Obama went in with a rather astonishing set of credentials as a masterful uniter, a capable compromiser, someone who could find the intelligent middle ground in a hurricane. This, to many of us, was the real change he would bring to Congress -- not wild organic liberalism and peacenik silliness, but more of a simple, calm, effective reversal of the utterly vile, hyper-polarized, we-hate-everything extremism that Bush so disgustingly embodied.
(Oh btw, the Bush family? Total freaks. So cloistered, inbred and twitchy, they were perhaps freaks of the worst kind: freaks of the mundane and the mediocre, the violent and the low. But you already knew that.)
But now it feels that even Obama, quite simply the best president we on the left can possibly hope for in terms of intelligence, subtle thinking, nuanced understanding of the more progressive issues of the day, a man who dazzled the hell out of both parties when he walked in, appears to be stunned by just how deeply he's been dipped in the toxic acid bath that is the United States Congress.
All of which can lead you to an utterly depressing, defeatist view of America, wherein you might say the worst affliction we suffer isn't the horrible economy, job losses, botched health care reform, war, housing collapse or Hannah Montana. Rather, it's a snarling, hydra-headed government led by fundamentalist tea-party fringe nutballs from the right and weak-kneed whiners from the left, full of sound and fury, inspiring absolutely nothing. Or is that overstating things just a little?

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Mark Morford's column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate. To join the notification list for this column, click here and remove one article of clothing. To get on Mark's personal mailing list (appearances, books, blogs, yoga and more), click here and remove three more. His website is right here.

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