08 November 2006

The Nightmare Isn't Over; Now We Are Only Half-Asleep

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No matter how you interpret last week's election--whether as a referendum on Bush or the war or Republicans--the reality is that half the electorate still slumbers supernaturally, a Sleeping Beauty awaiting, I believe, the kiss from a handsome Führer. Darn, I’ve just turned my metaphorical screw too far because the truth is that these people want never to wake up and don’t even know they are sleeping. Such are the wages of letting your heart belong to Daddy. But as dramatic as the Democrats storming of the House and Senate was, one can't help wondering how much more dramatic it might have been if Diebold electronic voting machines had not been used. At least I can't help wondering that.

But we have to keep in mind that this election is not the end, or even the beginning of the end, but the beginning of the beginning. We have a lot of work to do to not only get this country on a better path but to understand how we ended up where we have been for the past six years--and we can't lay too much of the blame on the stain on this blue dress.

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But to watch the news last week had the texture of a dream, its own disconcerting unreality. Had we become so inured to the debacle that was Republican-led government that we could no longer imagine what it could be like otherwise? Almost. I practically wept as I watched Nancy Pelosi’s interview with Wolf Blitzer because she came across as so sensible and poised, and it had been so long since I'd seen a public official and not a commentator speak that way. And then watching Rumsfeld resign only brought flashbacks of the many agonizing times I'd endured his smug face saying whatever the hell it wanted on my TV. Go straight to hell, Don, do not pass go, do not collect 200 million dollars--there are going to be a lot of familiar faces there.

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But let us return to the specter, the spectacle of the blue dress, which hovers over us, haunts us, still, like a scare tactic with the sophistication of a Brady Bunch episode. We are stuck endlessly with this semen-spattered dress that never will go away. Never will ever, ever, go away. I said we can’t put too much emphasis on the blue dress in a piece that is about the emphasis on the blue dress because there were many factors that brought Bush into office, not just the national dismay at the image of the President of the United States unloading uncontrollably on a young intern’s dress like a randy old man. It really puts you in the room with them, doesn’t it?

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What is one to do with this horrible frock that changed the course of a nation? Let's look at it again. Doesn't this look like a piece of fabric, buttons, and belt that deserves the distinction of ruining this great nation? It’s not entirely true to say that, to hold this thing—oh God, how the belt and long sleeves kill the soul!—up as the main factor that caused people to vote Republican, but its value as a signifier is not just how it represents Clinton, but how it represents the electorate’s opinion of him. What I mean is this: we can’t erase the embarrassing car-back-seat fumbling that the dress represents, which is sex itself, as fact, as stain, but the apprehension of the signifier in the minds of the electorate is what is at stake here, and that is to say, in the context of that mind or those minds, we see how they see sex itself. So, in a strange way, the dress represents the electorate that voted in a Republican Congress in 1998 and a Republican President in 2000. Isn’t that queer?

Let's look at it again.

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This dress, this cum-stained dress, also represents a certain maddening function of the media, which is that the media goes after Democratic scandals with a vigor and venom that has always been absent from its coverage of Republican scandals. Is this because Democrats seem to either have more sex, enjoy it more, or get caught doing it more than Republicans? That is just a little joke. Lol! And so of course, the mind of the electorate is shaped by this media that, even in the New York Times, buries Republican scandals within the paper but rubs our faces in endless front page stories on “Whitewater” and this stupid fucking dress.

And this brings us to my final point, which is that the blue dress still haunts us because the last election showed that there are a lot of people still out there who are blue-dress voters. And is it just their revulsion for sex or are these same people the ones most easily scared by terrorism and its myriad invisible threats? And are they the same people who want the punishing Father-Führer? I think evidence suggests they are. But of course the blue dress voters go for the conservative Punishing Father because the randy Father of Enjoyment terrifies them so, which is to say, of course, that he turns them on.

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We are only half-awake--or half-asleep--in the midst of the Bushian nightmare because the half of the electorate that the dress represents are still out there, and they're voting, and the Republicans will continue to offer them candidates tailored to their fear, prejudice, and ignorance. This is why, as a nation, we are only half awake, and why we have a lot of work to do. In the original Sleeping Beauty story, when the handsome nobleman discovers the unconscious beauty, he rapes her, and she doesn’t wake up. Then she has his children. And she still doesn't wake up. Was there ever a more apt or disturbing metaphor for the American people? The challenge, which will never be met while corporations and lobbyists more or less set the agenda, is for the the Democrats or even the Republicans to offer us candidates that actually govern for the good of the nation and its people--a grave civic responsibility. I think that's what people were voting for last week because the corruption of the current office-holders had become too apparent. They won't get it. Alas, for now the kind of candidate of which I speak remains a Prince Charming in a fairy tale; nonetheless, one hopes, and I think that hope is what last week's vote revealed. And finally, until the day comes when semen-spattered blue dresses matter less than a politician's actual record of service, we'll continue to encounter avatars of Bush along the great road of american politics.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

will you marry me?

Luciferus said...

Dear Anonymous,

I already have a husband, but I like your evocative name.

bstewart23 said...

In keeping with the tone of your post: I believe you just shot a load all over the truth. Or maybe that's my load, from the excitement of reading such an astute distillation of the last 6 years.

And, anonymous, do take a number and get in line.

GayProf said...

Americans are afraid of cum. I don't know why.

Annnyway, I will point out that Bushie did not win the election in 2000, no matter which way you slice it up. He didn't win the popular vote. He also didn't win Florida, and therefore should not have won the electoral college. So, seemingly the blue dress doesn't bare all the blame...

Finally, I always thought it was an ugly dress. It's like some type of blue-tent turned trench-coat.