Print Story Impassioned stupidity.
By technician (Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:54:53 PM EST) (all tags)
The quest for shouting FIRE without using the word FIRE.

It's a hot and swampy day when the crowds surfaced, all of them with signs, all of them with the same snide sneer, that bizarre facial expression of someone who wants a fight but can't seem to find one.  They walked (not a march, really) to the capital and stood around waiting for someone or something to show them the way, to lead them in a pitchfork and torch march to the White House.  Angry white people, most of them older, many who would start every sentence with "I'm a veteran," all of whom lowered the "debate" over something as mundane and economic as health care to the level of a professional wrestling match. They stood around waiting for their moment.

The news crews showed, called in by the local Republican party offices (according to the News 8 camera guy that I was talking to).  Once the cameras showed up, the people started getting a little more vocal.  It is a strange, uncomfortable thing to be in a crowd that tries to rally. Embarrassing, mostly.  Three guys at the edge of the crowd started moving people into a tighter clump wherever the camera was pointed, making the field of view fill with angry white people.  They also did their level best to get the "SECEDE NOW" and "REVERSE RACISM IS STILL RACISM"  and "IMPEACH OSAMA OBAMA" signs moved out of the cameras but the news this morning showed them in all their fruitbat glory.

A handful of younger people showed up late, obviously part of some email chain or flashmob set up by local democrats, signs and voices in support of reform, none of them entertaining.  They shouted questions to the protesters, tried to engage the lunatics with fact. Both sides lost their message in the grumbling, but the crazies were definitely louder and crazier.

In the end, the best possible outcome came to be: the protesters and their crazed signs were given news time, which made them happy, and made them look totally fanatically nuts. Their message, a muddy, misdirected, unfocused anger, came off like it has for months now: crazy.  The louder and more energetic they get, the crazier they come off. The best part are these fruitbat secessionists, guys who have no idea that we're the second or fifth largest consumer of federal funds (depending on who you talk to), apparently unaware that every action in their day is assisted by the country they seem to despise. Then there's the Klan guys...they don't bring signs but they do subtly show their colors.  They engaged in earnest discussion with a white-haired old lady from a nearby town, and after some minutes she's parroting back to them in all earnest anger "well why should a black man decide when I die?" then a quick "why should any man?" and they go on with her about Hispanic courts and illegals getting the same level of care as honest Americans. Then there's the Libertarians, the ones who believe that corporate America will do a better job of caring for Americans than Americans would. They've apparently never had their insurance canceled retroactively, or had insurance at all, really.

Crazy.  Textbook loony, every single one of them.  And a real risk of running the country again if we're not careful, if we just laugh them off.  On the one hand, it is perfectly OK to let them get as much exposure as possible.  The more room they have to act nutty, the nuttier they act.  On the other hand, old people seem to be in a collective selfish game with our future, and they can't be relied on to make sense of insanity when it has an air of authority (or comes from a strong AM radio signal).  These are the same people who forward email hoaxes like they are actual news, and honestly believe them. The need is there to have a strong, well-publicized common sense voice, one that speaks to their fear and quells it with emotional, nostalgic plugs for the betterment of our country. We need Johnny Carson back from the dead to let these folks know that it is OK to care for people besides themselves.

That's the struggle, though, isn't it.  Finding the Right Message.  The heart of it is now marketing. Where problems were once solved they are now spun.  Both sides do their level best to avoid solutions, since a solution can break you if it is the wrong one, and odds are the marketing guys on the other team will make sure that any firm solution is the wrong one. At some point maybe the message is the method.  Maybe this is the future of both democracy and capitalism: empty rhetoric derailing the common goal of a better society.

On a scale of one to fucking hell, I'll give it a firm 7: entertainingly crazy with a hint of malicious control fed by Rovian underlings who seek to undermine freedom with conspiratorial slavery.

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Impassioned stupidity. | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)
Hrm. by technician (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 12:56:48 PM EST
Johnny Carson back from the dea?  And "string AM signal" instead of strong?  Obviously this new persona of mine is a terrible typist but an excellent speller.

Is there a problem here? by atreides (4.00 / 2) #2 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:12:11 PM EST
You in DC today? by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:39:50 PM EST
"NewsChannel 8" and "White House" seem pretty diagnostic as to the location. Also "hot and swampy."

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Nope. by technician (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 01:43:35 PM EST
Marches on the white house have top start somewhere.

Is it swampy in DC today?  It is supposed to hit 101 here with humidity in the 60 percent range, I think.

[ Parent ]
Here too by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 02:02:34 PM EST
Upper 90's, low 100's, high humidity.

Currently (2 PM)
96 °F
Dew Point 74 °F

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Yuck. by technician (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 02:30:50 PM EST

[ Parent ]
I'm concerned by garlic (4.00 / 2) #7 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 03:58:58 PM EST
that there's no good voice trying to counteract the ones that are causing old people to flashmob. Think about that-- how scared do they have to be to do that? It will be hard to convince them that noone is trying to steal their healthcare, let alone that "i got mine, fuck all y'all" may not be the way we want to run the government.

Exactly. by technician (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 04:41:53 PM EST
There really needs to be a trustworthy non-combative voice that appeal to common sense and that nostalgia for a better world that got 'em all to dig into world wars and victory gardens.  I just don't know who that is.

[ Parent ]
Best response by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 04:52:08 PM EST
Give them lots of exposure.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
That's enough to deal with the crazies by garlic (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 06:01:16 PM EST
but people in the middle who have faith in the current system need to be convinced that a new system would work just as well. I don't think you'll be able to easily sway someone's faith in the current system, no matter how much recision and layoffs due to insurance costs happen because I think everyone tends to think they're special and it won't happen to them.

[ Parent ]
Current system by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 09:12:46 PM EST
Does anyone still have faith in the current system?

I've lived a relatively healthy life, yet my dealings with the insurance industry have driven me from a believer in the "free market" to someone that wants the current insurance company execs against a wall.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
devil you know vs the one you don't by garlic (4.00 / 2) #14 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 09:47:51 PM EST

[ Parent ]
1st person or 3rd? by Fela Kuti (1.00 / 1) #11 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 07:07:54 PM EST
which is it?

Both. by technician (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 09:39:37 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Completely unrelated ... by lm (4.00 / 1) #15 Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 08:13:58 PM EST
... my boss comes up behind me this afternoon and says, ``how's my technician doing?''

And my first thought is `WTF? I'm not technician.'

But what I said was ``you're technician is doing fine, sir. peachy keen, in fact.''

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Subject: by lolwhat (4.00 / 1) #16 Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 07:04:52 AM EST
Not that I really like Boehner or the Republicons or anything, but hey, it brings together several of the objections:

On the astroturf/marketing front...

Getting paid to promote the plan? Really?

A rather awkward comparison to the post office has been made by the man himself: (~40 seconds in)

Reform is great and all - we just need to make sure it's done as right as humanly possible. This plan in its current form simply doesn't do it.
If cigarette packs are required to have pictures of diseased lungs, college brochures should be required to have photos of grads working at Starbucks.

Nothing simple about it, by technician (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 08:57:56 AM EST
and I doubt we'll ever get it as right as humanly possible. 

Every refutation on the Republican site is based on assumptions about reactions to the plan.

I'd like to see us start somewhere, preferably with something less appealing to insurance companies, something more like France or Canada. Since the insurance companies won't allow that to happen (and their lobbyists are way, way bigger than my vote), I don't think we'll see a plan that goes far enough. Hybrids are stepping stones; maybe once we get some sort of framework in place the insurance companies will start to fail and have less cash to influence their paid senators and reps.

[ Parent ]
Impassioned stupidity. | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)