CULTURE, NOT POLITICS


AMERICANS DON’T HAVE POLITICS. WE HAVE CULTURE.

BY STEVEN T. BRAMBLE

meeting

Since we’re all unapologetic coastal elitists here in this room today, allow me to proclaim, from on high, a thing or two about the average voter.

Some of you in the back are already groaning, I see you. Perhaps not all of us here are unapologetic. Some of you have reputations to maintain. The coastal elitists who like to believe they could hang out with the factory toughs, who think they’re cool just because they smuggled booze in here in half-full Gatorade bottles. Look, guys, every single one of us in this room are drunks. Not even a single one of us likes being here at this boring-ass meeting, and had you read the flyers you would’ve already known that we bought a shitload of cheap wine simply for the purpose of making this whole thing even the slightest bit agreeable to come to.

But anyway, the average voter. You know what I’m talking about, the code word we all use for morons and fucking idiots. The truest majority of these United States, in all reality. The people we can’t get enough of anthropologizing because trying to understand what they’re thinking requires as much contextualization as trying to understand why people hundreds of years ago used to just dump their waste out into the cobblestone street.

No, really, don’t turn bashful at this sort of language. We all already hate each other anyway, they us and we them, so what’s the harm in just opening up our hearts to our own, supposedly “secret” version of the truth? It’s okay to realize that, sometimes, brotherly and sisterly love does actually disappear from humankind’s dealings with itself from time to time.

So really, let’s not be modest, this country is exceptional at producing jugheads who it tends to give us pause to know are out there reproducing. It’s just an extremely well-known, totally non-empirical fact that they outnumber us, the insufferable nerds, by a huge margin.

Which it’s not to say, of course, that we don’t have our own strange characteristics. I would never suggest that we’re perfect. Let’s not even get started on how much some of us nerds here in attendance probably love Ghostbusters, or how much shit some of us talk on people who watch sports, or all the studies we claim to know about, the endless statistics and articles. But, again, I do not apologize. I’m not here today to confirm what we all already know, that we’re a bunch of goddamn phone-gazing, page-flipping nerds with soft spots for technocrats. No, I’m here today to talk about that other group, the one full of the dipsticks and laggards.

What necessitates this analysis is our endless inability to understand why we suddenly find ourselves sliding into fascism at the hands of the Pied Piper of Sandpaper Skulls, Donald Trump. No, no, please don’t boo, we’re all getting a bit tired of that kind of thing. No one here must prove to us that they don’t like him. I actually take it for granted that most of us here, if given the chance, would likely literally beat him to death despite what a bunch of fucking nerds we are, and how possessed of a granite will one actually has to be to directly inflict such a horrid death on someone, and then after beating him to death many of us would likely have a sound night’s sleep, followed by a big breakfast and maybe even a cigarette in the morning. But that’s super not the point. The point is that we’re actually losing to him and his army of big dumb hicks right now.

That’s right, we’re losing. And if hearing it said out loud makes you uncomfortable, then this goes for you double: we’re losing to a bunch of people currently driving around in bigger trucks than necessary pasted all over with Amerifederate flags and bumper stickers exhorting the people driving behind them to “support the troops,” whatever in holy fuck that means. I mean, I’m not kidding here. We’re looking increasingly fucked. This thing could, and perhaps will, get out of hand. And if it does, let’s just be honest, we’re all going to be looking at each other wondering who’s suicidal enough to start the actual resistance, the one that requires you to pick up a gun.

You know good and well what’s in the back of your mind. And if it’s not in the back of your mind, then this goes double for you: you should be worrying yourself bald, like me, about possibly having to pick up a gun in a few years’ time. Because make no mistake, they’re thinking about it plenty. They’ve even got representatives in the House tweeting memes about the next civil war, and let’s not pretend we’re being interviewed on World News Tonight here, Steve King is a perfectly mainstream Republican. Nothing particularly unusual to see there. He’s got plenty of constituents who would really actually love to re-litigate the terms of Appomattox, no matter how generous we were to the fuckers at the time.

But, really, why are we losing so bad? Why are these people just so goddamn dumb? Why can’t they see, in all their dumbness, that what we say actually makes a lot more sense than the guy with the spray-tan who says tremendous too much or the genocidal psychopath with the Gepetto mustache?

Well, one reason is that, up until now, we’ve been giving them credit that they have their own interests at heart. It’s kind of funny when you think about it. I mean, really, where do we come up with this stuff that we tell ourselves? Giving a bunch of fucking lamebrains credit that they somehow know what they’re doing.

First we said to ourselves, well, it’s because the manufacturing sector and the middle-class have been hollowed out. Even if that were actually the reason people voted for Trump in 2016—which it just flat-out super wasn’t—this is somehow our fault why? The death of middle-class America was the project of the Republicans way more than the Democrats. And, yeah, I know, Democrats have never been that great, either, but let’s keep our heads here, people. We give ourselves over to hyperbole a wee bit too much, hm? And if we can’t agree that it wasn’t the fault of the Democrats, then let’s at least agree it wasn’t the fault of the left. Or even really the fault of neoliberals. Had the Republicans not been dumbing this country down for the last 70, 80-some-odd years with their ultralibertarian rhetoric of no unions and no taxes, we might actually have kept a factory or two under the watch of a Carter or a Clinton, even if they did nurse along the internationalization of capital.

And, yes, I’m well-aware that both those glue-huffers were rank imperialists, and institutional racists to boot, guilty of just as many war crimes as your Bushes or your Nixons. But that’s another reason we’re losing, lamentable as it is. All of us here care about dismantling imperialism, and we care about the equal rights of everybody across the entire globe, but these red-state overdosers don’t even know what the fuck imperialism even is. They have about as much conception of it as we all do of how to disassemble and clean a firearm. And, yes, I grant you that obviously one is more important to have a conception of than the other, but see, right there, to think that way would be to fall into their trap. You can’t outsmart a stupid person—it’s just a reality we all need to face up to.

We’re losing because we’re finding out every day all these institutions that were supposed to be so unassailable, up to and including the news media, are totally defenseless against a stupid person. Why? Because Donald Trump had the genius of “figuring out” the extremely well-known, non-empirical fact that your average voter doesn’t know a fucking thing about politics. To them, lambasting black football players who refuse to stand during the national anthem is the equivalent of good governance somehow. I mean, sure, they say words that seem recognizable to us when it comes to stuff like this, words like economy, jobs, national security, etc., but don’t make the mistake of thinking they have the slightest fucking clue what they mean. We’ve been listening to a chorus of millions of parrots sound out the syllables, and to all of us arrogant, coastal elitist, studio apartment-living nerds it was impressive to think that they might actually have a good grasp of the subject matter, but of course it always was, and continues to be, just so much polly wanna cracker. Not that they’re not extremely knowledgeable when it comes to certain subjects, this I concede. For instance, they know perfectly well, and are even authoritative, on the matter of why they hate Mexicans so much. Truthfully, I can’t claim to know much about it.

Here’s the straight, depressing-ass truth. If we lose this next election, we’re fucking finished. Climate change, done. War with Iran, foregone conclusion. Abortion and non-male civil rights, out the window. Racial pogroms and expanding concentration camps, it’s all being drafted up as we speak. The United States will preside over a worldwide authoritarian movement which cannot be reversed except by some version of all-out world war, and then all of us will be the fleshy fodder they use to assert their homicidal egos.

So why, why, why are we backing Joe Biden for 2020? Can anyone in this whole fucking place answer me that? You think he’s going to impress these big stupid dummies by talking about making america moral again? They don’t give half a shit about morality. In fact, the word itself borders on being far too complicated for them.

No, we need to back the candidate who’s literally planning on giving out free shit to people. It doesn’t matter who, just whoever’s willing to give away free shit.

Don’t laugh, I’m not fucking joking up here. Remember what happened with Hillary Clinton? The night she lost? Remember how you felt? Well when Joe Biden loses the exact same way, it’s going to hurt even worse.

Free shit. It’s pretty tough to misunderstand that, even for some of the more impressively far-gone mouthbreathers out there.

As much as you and I want this to be about substantive issues and intelligent, beneficent plans to improve the lives of both U.S. citizens and all our beautiful brothers and sisters all across this living, breathing, mystical planet full of tender creatures and gifts of love, it’s not, and it’s not going to be, ever. It’s about giving these sick, selfish fucks some free shit. Do not fall into the Biden trap, because, for whatever reason, I still have a shred of hope for this country, and I’m not prepared to submit to it in any manner whatsoever, and that doesn’t make me, or any of you, I’d suspect, ideal candidates for citizenship in a fascist United States.

Let’s get on their level a bit and realize that no one’s impressed with how smart we all are, or whether or not we’re good people. They don’t care whether we offer them an olive branch or not. In fact, they just view that kind of behavior as the reason why we’re ultimately going to lose. They care about free shit, so let’s give it to them. Please. I’m begging any and all Biden supporters out there, don’t do this. I prefer my dystopian societies relegated to my science-fiction.

Anyway, that’s it, I guess.

See all you nerds at the Democracy Now! watch-party. (See how I knew it had an exclamation point at the end?)

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