01. October 2012 · Comments Off on ObamaPhone · Categories: Ain't That America?, History, Tea Time · Tags: , ,

So, with a little more than six weeks to go to Election Day, this particular video is getting play, and no little amount of critical commentary, which does not actually surprise me in the least. What would surprise me would be to find out that the speaker in question actually is privately embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed for selling her vote so cheap, and publically encouraging others to do also.

A phone, a simple cellphone; this is the price of a vote in this decadent age. Never mind that this ‘assistance to the unfortunate’ was something started several administrations ago, never mind that this particular interviewee seems to know history as well as your average potted plant, never mind … well, never mind several more observations regarding this particular person’s education level and personal background which might in all fairness be assumed from a brief interlocution with a video camera. Again – the most deeply appalling, unsettling part is how cheaply votes can be bought. Oh, at certain times and in certain places during the history of this grand republic, votes were bartered for goods or good-will. This was what built the big-city machines; Tammany Hall is of course the grand historic example, but other big cities in the late 19th and early 20th century also fell to lesser imitators; the Daley Machine in Chicago being presently the best known, and still poisonously effective, given the eminence of the present occupant of the White House.

But still … your vote is for him, because he gave you a cellphone? Gave all your friends and neighbors a cellphone? And you’ll sell your vote for that … the vote that men and women of color and otherwise campaigned, protested, marched, and went to war for, for those 200 and some years since the American Revolution and the founding of the republic? The considered choice of a thoughtful and involved citizen in electing fellow citizens to public is sold for a mess of pottage and a few trinkets. I have read many editorials regarding how republics eventually became corrupted once citizens realized they could vote themselves largess from the public treasury. You, my dear fellow citizen – would sell out for a cellphone. This particular brief video makes it almost nakedly obvious: he gave me stuff, so I’m voting for him. Which is probably why it’s been linked, posted and shared all over the place – the very scumminess of the exchange revolts viewers. One of them is Wretchard, at the Belmont Club, who wrote eloquently in the comments to his original post:

“It reminds me, horribly enough, of how politicians in Philippines buy votes for a bag of peanuts and bottle of Marca Demonyo Gin plus maybe the equivalent of a $5 bill.
And don’t imagine people don’t understand they are being bought. They do and that is the worst of it. To see in their eyes the awareness that they’ve fallen so low they’ll follow orders for chump change. The more intelligent of them hate themselves for it. But then … they haven’t been able to afford a bag of peanuts or a bottle of gin for a while … and maybe this chance won’t come again. You can watch the struggle until the hand goes out and grabs the gin.
This to me is the most terrible sight you can see. I don’t feel any superiority over the woman in the Obama Phone video. Just horror. Horror. And the worst of it is that I know that I fell so low I’d be in the same state. Just drooling over that cheap-ass phone. How terrible. How absolutely terrible.”

Darned if I’m not coming up on my ten-year mark as a blogger; my, how the time flies when you are having fun. I made my very first post in August, 2002, after the fun of being a solo blogger apparently burned off for the original founder of this blog, the semi-legendary smart-ass known as Sgt. Stryker. And then, I just got into the habit of it. Things happened – a war, for one. And after a bit, and a couple of years of producing content and of getting very, very tired of working for other people and corporate organizations (some of whom although not all were – not to put too fine a point on it – raving loonies or singularly unappreciative of my mad and various skilz) I began to think of myself as a writer (and independent contractor) who did a little office and administrative work on the side, rather than an office administrator/secretary who did a little writing on the side. Since then, I’ve brought home the bacon as an editor, writer and publisher, having written seven books, counting the first one, which was my ‘training wheels book’ and mostly of reworked blog-posts anyway. There have been bloggers who have done even better out of being early bloggers … but that’s not my point, really. I’ve done well enough to suit myself, even if I could not figure out how to do certain book-advert things with the original blog layout, or to incorporate pictures into the current one. Just one of those things.

One of those things that happened in the decade since was to become a Tea Partier – a devotee of small government, strict application of the Constitution in matters governmental, and of classical free markets … no, not crony capitalism, which is the kind that only mimics free markets, in which the establishment political elite and the top-market-economic elite are one and the same. No, it is not the same thing at all … and being an independent writer really is underlining that point quite sufficiently. As if I had not already figured much of that out, through reading the book and author blogs …

Ugh – small interruption there, a grad-student with the thankless job of hawking books from door to door on a Sunday afternoon. Nice – work hours for the freelance are … non-standard. Whereas I couldn’t afford any of his books, even if I was interested in them, it seems that he is an exchange student from Brazil, come to improve his English and Spanish, and has written a text-book. And needs an editor. Of course I gave him my card – but how comic would that be, getting a paid editing job from doing door to door cold-calling? One of my on-line author friends, Janet Elaine Smith, apparently does this all the time: she pitches her books to sales-persons who call her or ring her doorbell, deftly turning around all of their lines. Nine out of ten, she sells more to them, than they do to her…

Anyway – back to life as it is being lived in this campaign summer. It looks like Mittens is the nominee, and it looks like it is actually not going too bad for him. He wasn’t really my first, or even my second choice, politically … although it might be that he can really electrify the campaign by picking a dazzling VP. I wouldn’t presume to say who … except that observe that a running mate of the dark-brown year-round-tan color would certainly defang some of the objections to a pure-white-cleaner-than-next-to-godliness-white candidate. Who has political and extensive managerial business experience far, far beyond the ken of the current incumbent … who seems to be pretty down with that Chicago-Machine-Political-Dirty-Dealing-Your-Opponent-Down –Before-He/She/They-Can-Do-It-To-You sort of thing. Your mileage may vary, though.

Really, I ought to go back and order the second season of Rome, soon. I’ll bet that will make a lot of stuff perfectly clear. Note – this week, we did have a precinct-walker doing my neighborhood for a Republican candidate. Or so he said- and I hope it’s true. He was also doing a quick Tea-Party-ish poll, and tallying up the answers on an I-pad. So all props to the organization which send him forth on this mission in being able to work with cutting-edge 21st century technology. I seriously hope that he was in earnest about who and what he said that he was – otherwise… It seriously wierds me out that I must reconsider this kind of honesty in answering his questions, in this year of 2012. Yeah, hope and change. We hope that we have some change left at the end of all this.