Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Swallow the Rabbit Whole V

The one word that struck me in the great debate 2 last night was "cynicism." Obama empathized with a woman for her "cynicism" towards government. The word made me cringe, and I thought it was a huge error until McCain repeated it in his response. I figure that his handlers let out a huge sigh when he repeated the word because with that utterance, a whole slew of negative ads went out the window.

But the word itself does not deserve to be forgotten. Cynicism is the result that 'publicans crave when they invented the Reagan revolution. They created the notion that government is always bad. In power, they created government that bankrupted itself and projected its power as the biggest bully in the world. But to the truck-lovers and sports-moms whom they invented, they decried every annoyance that comes from living in a society onto government. When things started to stink, they blamed it on "big-government" liberals.

It's not about big or small government. As the present financial crisis demonstrates, government is necessarily big in the current world. It's about good or bad government. It's about choosing what government should do and how it should do it.

The use of the word "cynicism" shows the degree to which the reactionaries have dominated the American political conversation for decades. They set the terms. They define government as bad and then use it to the advantage of their cronies; they send us to war ... cynically ... and then defy anyone to oppose them lest they be set up as opposed to the very soldiers they have sent to their doom.

In other words, it is the present conservatism that is cynical. When Cindy McCain, a "rich bitch" if ever there was one, does her slime-balling as she did today, accusing Obama of causing chills because he of a Senate vote not dissimilar to a vote by her hubbie, she demonstrates the precise meaning of cynicism. Bu it is some miscellaneous undeclared woman in the accidental audience at the silly town-hall-format debate who has to bear that label. Cynicism is not disappointment. It is not passive. Cynicism is that active obfuscation of understanding through deliberate confusion and feigned emotion.

Conservatism is built on cynicism. When cynicism becomes a code word for disappointment, it is victory for the enemies of democracy.

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