Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Trolling for trolls?

Crossposted from Daily Kos 9/9/08

“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”
HL Mencken

There’s been a lot of back and forth lately about allegedly nay-saying trolls posting diaries, which makes me wonder: Is anyone out there in blogville who is feeling more than a little antsy, whose sense of deja vu has their spider sense tingling, who can see Dukakis, Gore and Kerry clanking their chains like Marley’s ghost, and who has the temrerity to take their Cassandra-like angst public going to be automatically branded as a troll?

Regrettably the answer to that appears to be yes, and as a Democrat who’s been voting since ‘68, frankly I resent it. It’s one thing to have an honest difference of opinion with a fellow blogger, even to the point of a snarky reply, but to suggest that anyone who would deviate from the, dare I say it, party line is somehow in bed with the enemy makes us look and sound like, well, them.

So yes I’m worried. I’ve been through too many post-coital convention swoons only to wake up and find my wallet gone. Mike and Al and John were great dates, until we took ‘em home to meet the folks. And now, God help us, we’re bringing a really exotic specimen to the front door. All that’s left is to have “Society’s Child” as background music.

So yes, people, I worry that our fractious nation still believes in the quick fix. Like it or not, impulsive as McCain may have been, Palin is an inspired choice. It has enabled the bad guys to frame the agenda, once again sending the old and slow straight talk freight to a siding so the flashy streamliner can pass on through. That’s not troll-ish, that’s a fact.

The question is what can we do about it, and that’s what I think is driving the realists among us to wonder out loud if the illusoiry promise of quantum change will be enough this time around to trump the status quo. That’s not troll-ish, that’s a cry in the wilderness from those whose political diaspora has spanned many, many years, in my case decades. Keep reminding yourselves that Clinton, and Carter to a certain extent, were aberrations, not the norm. Also keep in mind that the last Republican who actually “won” an election outright was Reagan, and connect the dots from there.

I saw Barack with Keith last night, heard him calmly keepin’ on and trusting in his message. Hey I’m a believer. Hell he had me at hello way back when. But the belief is in Barack, which is not enough. To really make it work we have to believe not just in ourselves, which is to say the progressive core of the electorate, but in those folks for whom you’d think voting Democratic would be a no-brainer. Ay there’s the rub. If we can’t convince enough people that enlightened self-interest is preferable to indulgent self-interest we’ve had it. That’s not troll-ish, that’s reality.

Now part of my own particular angst stems from living in western Mass., the heart iof the People’s Republic of New England, where if we get any bluer we’ll need to add a new color band to the spectrum. So while the battle is joined elsewhere we sit in splendid isolation, like the Washington swells in 1861 who packed picnic lunches and watched from a comfortably safe distance as their boys got smashed at Bull Run. If I hadn’t spent three weeks in Oregon this summer visiting family I might never have known there was a real horse race out there beyond our blue horizon. This isolation only adds to the frustration, since out here we’re all registered and committed. About the only political battles we fight in this neck of the woods are with some of our over-the-top PC types, but come crunch time we’ll all vote the same.

So I watch and listen as this life-or-death struggle for the future of the American experiment plays out on a distant plain, secure in the knowledge that my region will show the flag and do the right thing. Meanwhile, out in the real world it’s some bad shit happenin’ and there ain’t a damn thing I can do about it except hope beyond all expectation that this time our guy will actually get the dust to settle in the rest of the country just long enough for his clarity of vision to penetrate the force field of denial and self-absorption and give us back our beloved country.

And if my reading of history and bitter past experience renders me less sanguine than blogville might wish, if my presumed lack of enthusiasm makes me a troll by default, so be it. Lord knows I’d love to bring my aging bones in from the cold and darkness of our political nuclear winter and find warmth at Barack’s fireside, but I’m not holding my breath. Big truth is castor oil. A big lie is cotton candy. So we better find some sugar to help that medicine go down, and do it damn quick, or else it’s just going to get darker and colder out there come November.

“This concludes our emotional weather report. Now back to the eleven o’clock blues.”
Tom Waits

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