It's really good that Senator Obama wished that bad Mr. Sixties into the cornfield.
GOD help me, I didn't read the Lapel Pin speech. It didn't even occur to me; for one thing, the only way I'm getting through the next four months is by not confronting the very real possibility that what should be the single greatest instance of widespread political clarity connected to a U.S. Presidential election since 1932 had, perhaps even before I started paying attention to it, devolved into a choice of which party, and whose candidate, is less beholden to the crackpot narrative of American current events, and which side is a skosh less mendacious in its pursuit. I can't be betrayed by the Democratic Party, because I left it in 1978, or about six years after it kicked me out. I don't think much of the Presidency; the last President I'd have even wanted to have lunch with died a decade before I was born, and the one since then who did the most for the country also mired us in Vietnam. Roosevelt and LBJ are the twin poles of the massively expanded Presidency that began with Wilson, and they are, respectively by their rarity and their tale of best intentions gone screaming to Hell, on greased rails, initiating, in the process, the Third Great Awakening of Dumbass Bronze Age Superstition, thanks a lot, the argument for its curtailment. The best thing we could do with the Oval Office is shrink it, say, to the size of an Indy-car cockpit, or, even smaller; something approaching George W. Bush's grasp, but maybe still observable without special optics.
I happen to believe that, the matter being settled anyway, it's much less important that Barack Obama will apparently say anything or reverse any stated position to get elected President than it is that so many self-described Progressives with internet access will excuse whatever that might entail. (It may be nearly as troubling that Senator Obama is getting the worst campaign advice of an actual candidate since Michael Dukakis without anyone seeming to notice, but I'm not really an inside baseball type. Fun fact: Dukakis was leading at this point in the race.) I spent no small amount of time last evening reading post after post and comment after comment praising the man's wholly gratuitous (and whoringly gratuitous) plan to fund employment discrimination by religious organizations, on the grounds, I guess, that they're really nice once you get to know them. This morning I saw the man praised for telling a reporter who asked him to twist the knife he stuck in Wes Clark's back the day before--or to apologize to John McCain in case any blood got on McCain's shoes--that he (Obama) thought it was beneath him to be asked the question again. Swear to God. It turns out that the Left Blogosphere, as an alternative to Big Media, consists of the same goddam trumpet section playing in a slightly different register. Yes, it's the silly season; yes, this, too, shall pass. But so too has the golden opportunity to force the Democratic nominee to take, and hold, positions more closely resembling those of, well, actual Democrats, unless they've all lost their minds. Instead they spent the time arguing just what sort of racist Geraldine F. Ferraro is.
Anyway, I don't know what possessed me to read the thing, but, Oh brother:
Meanwhile, some of those in the so-called counter-culture of the Sixties reacted not merely by criticizing particular government policies, but by attacking the symbols, and in extreme cases, the very idea, of America itself - by burning flags; by blaming America for all that was wrong with the world; and perhaps most tragically, by failing to honor those veterans coming home from Vietnam, something that remains a national shame to this day.
All righty, then. I'd pretty much forgotten the Dirty Hippies and their filthy Excesses ruined America for the Rest of Us bit, not because I'm magnanimous, but because my memory's shot and he's screwed up so many times since then. So let's rewind, Senator. (By the way, if this is over with, why do you keep coming back here?) Did you actually study political science at Columbia, or did everything you know about the subject come from Ronald Reagan? I asked yesterday who it was who'd questioned your patriotism; now it's time for you to explain who you're throwing shit at, and why. Don't ask me why I didn't stand and cheer as the parade went by. Ask the people who supported that war where the parade was in the first place. Maybe instead of asking why we hippies aren't out celebrating war, we could ask why you who could do something about one aren't busy trying to stop it, or prevent further needless slaughter and the accumulation of more "patriotic" symbols on more graves. Fuck you, Senator. The friend of a friend of mine left his legs in that goddam jungle. The people who cared for him--for the rest of his unnaturally-short life--were mostly dirty hippies, sir, the same people who'd opposed the war before he left and argued into the night about his intention to go. Hold your own fuckin' parades. Demonstrate how proud you are to live in a country where mouthing empty platitudes is more important than being smart, or being honest. Oh, and thanks for answering the question. Patriotism is that vital wellspring of emotion we all should fake, and some of the other us should die for. Got it.