Beast of the Month - September 2000
George W. Bush and Al Gore, "Decision" 2000
"I yam an anti-Christ..."
John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the UK"
Millions of viewers to the Survivor finale were stunned over the victory by the repulsive Richard Hatch. The most surprising thing about his championship was that, though he was a detestable schemer who could barely conceal his contempt for his fellow contestants, he won by a vote of these same peers he only transparently feigned any concern for. Countless viewers had the same question in their head: how could such a manipulative fraud win what ultimately was a popularity contest?
Perhaps the presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore (The Konformist Beasts of the Month) should give you a clue.
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That Bush and Gore are the only two candidates left which have a real chance of winning says volumes about the state of modern politics. Indeed, though the public swallows the idea of them as the only two "legitimate" choices, there is widespread discontent in the nominees. How much discontent? Let's put it this way: Bush and Gore (as well as their VP picks, Dick Cheney and Joseph Lieberman) are so uninspiring, the nomination of fascist Pat Buchanan by the Reform Party seems almost like a glimmer of hope in comparison. (Okay, almost but not quite.) Or how about this: the two party monopoly is so alienating to so many, Ariana Huffington was able to morph herself into a semi-convincing populist via her Shadow Convention. (Of course, The Konformist remains skeptical of her and her book Overthrow the Government, when it is endorsed by failed GOP presidential candidate John McCain. Yeah, Ariana, you're a real threat to the establishment.) Perhaps it was fitting that the crowning of the two picks last month happened in cities where police forces had already used MOVE and Rodney King as batting practice.
As it turned out, the LAPD and Phillie Blue didn't need to reach for their clubs as much as some expected (though they certainly did use them on some who were mistaken in assuming they had Freedom of Speech and Assembly.) Unlike the protests in Seattle and D.C. in the past year, the demonstrations against the Republicratic Conventions proved to lack the fire in the belly. Even a Rage Against the Machine rock concert outside the Staples Center failed to inspire a mass rebellion.
The reason for the blah response? Most likely it was a general apathy of the supposed choice. The common response to the upcoming election is a collective "Who cares?" No doubt this has been aided by a public discourse that wallows in empty cynicism. Where there once were shrewd commentators like Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks who could both entertain and enlighten, we are left with Jay Leno and David Letterman, who serve softball jokes devoid of any substantial politics to dull-brained viewers desperate for comfort.
Then again, there is something to be said for cynicism and apathy, at least when it is enlightened. And the fact is, there is so little difference between the two candidates, cynicism and apathy seems to be the only logical response.
Here are some of the real issues that would be covered in an honest political campaign, and how the two candidates stack up on it:
* "War on Drugs": As Mondo 2000 and GettingIt editor (as well as presidential candidate himself) R.U. Sirius has put it, the so-called War on Drugs is "the most important issue of our times." The years of alcohol prohibition were harmless in comparison to the ravage caused by modern-day drug laws. Both Bush and Gore are, naturally, on the wrong side. No surprise: Shrub's pop, Poppy Bush, took the Drug War to a disturbingly fascist level under his 12 years in the executive branch. The Reagan-Bush Drug War was taken even further by Klinton, the alleged non-inhaler and certified unprincipled cretin, and now every "mainstream" politician embraces gross violations of civil liberties in principle. Neither Bush nor Gore plans to counter the current policy, and as a new campaign slowly builds in Colombia (not to mention the possible passage of Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act), the insanity of the Drug War only promises to become worse.
* Death Penalty & Crime: No governor of any state in the history of our country has had more blood on his hands than Shrub Bush. (Although he was strangely merciful to serial killer and cannibal Henry Lee Lucas.) Meanwhile, under the Klinton-Gore reign, USA has become the world's number one police state, exceeding the two million mark for number of prisoners. The executions and the increased criminalization of the public will increase under either president.
* Korporate Konsolidation: The increased power of concentration under huge monolithic organizations will no doubt continue, as both candidates are in the pocket of big campaign donors. This includes the consolidation of media outlets that air on (or control, in the case of cable companies) public airwaves, restricting people's ability to free speech in ways that Gore's wife Tipper and moralizing VP Lieberman could ever hope to accomplish.
* Military Spending: Already, Bush and his hack attack dog Cheney have been claiming that Klinton has undermined the military with lower spending, and like the chicken hawks that they are (neither has served any military time, though Cheney touts his desk-sitting as Secretary of Defense during the Gulf War Massacre) they promise to increase funding. Gore and Lieberman, meanwhile, have a history of big spending for the Pentagon, so they promise little different.
* Oil Prices: Shrub and Cheney - who received a $20 million plus golden parachute from Texas oil giant Halliburton after leaving for the campaign - are a dream ticket for the oil industry as prices continue to soar. Meanwhile, Gore, who promised to go after the oil industry in his Democratic Convention speech, has long been in the pocket of Occidental Petroleum (as was his father), who currently are receiving a sweetheart deal in Columbia on U'wa Indian land.
And we haven't even gotten to economic justice, the environment and campaign financing.
Campaign financing, for one, seems to be DOA with either candidate. No surprise there: the real reason these two jokers are the choices Americans face is due to their ability to raise cash, and not their political beliefs or supposed virtues. The election has been all about electability and not ideas. Of course, with the vast money both machines have raised comes strings.
To be fair, neither Bush nor Gore represent the worst of mainstream politics. In fact, they both sadly represent about as good as it gets from either the Democrats or Republicans. That certainly is no compliment.
What alternatives do voters face? Not much in practice: if mainstream candidates like Bradley and McCain couldn't stop the Bush-Gore juggernaut, any vote for other candidates in the November election remain, at least in the short term, a wasted vote. The mass response is to not vote at all (an option that to some becomes increasingly attractive) or a vote for the lesser of the two evils.
Still, maybe there is some hope for long term results from protest votes. Considering the limited differences between Bush and Gore, it is arguable that there is little lost in such a vote. With Ralph Nader on the Green Party ticket, John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party, and Harry Browne running again for the Libertarians (not to mention Mr. Sirius and his Revolution Party) now may be a time to give it a try. Who knows, maybe unintentionally, the bland but Beastly duo of Bush and Gore will inspire a movement which years from now people will be grateful over.
In any case, we salute George W. Bush and Al Gore as Beasts of the Month. Congratulations, and keep up the great work, dudes!!!
The Revolution, R.U. Sirius
Feral House, 2000
Alternative Vote 2000
Post Office Box 24825
Los Angeles, California 90024-0825
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