Today is a sad day for California. And Connecticut. And anywhere else in the country where voters had the chance to vote out corrupt and arrogant corporate welfare candidates in favor of candidates with integrity and progressive values.
Like Kurt Vonnegut said when he wrote Breakfast of Champions, I am more mystified and enraged by the "idiot decisions made by my countrymen" than ever before.
It is sad for the citizens of California because it highlights the problem with America: an epidemic of hubris and delusion. What is most troublesome, is that Californians proved that they would rather vote for a dishonest, huckster of an actor to "play governor" than for an experienced politician and man of conviction and principle, Phil Angelides; for it is so "old school" and boring to care about integrity and principle when you can close your eyes and imagine you are on a par with George Clooney, Brad Pitt or Steven Spielberg (Gropinator supporters who say they are Democrats) and shrug off what it means to vote with your conscience. And yes, like Howard Dean says, there IS a difference between Democrats and Republicans -- no matter how much triangulating at times occurs. These shameless entertainment sycophants and the scores of lemming voters that followed their lead are the soulless clang of the gong today that represents the deterioration of our culture and modern civilization.
During breakfast this morning while I read the midterm election results, thoughts of Kilgore Trout (the fictitious, unknown "Breakfast of Champions" science fiction writer) came to mind. The Kurt Vonnegut story contrasts Trout's unknown status to that of the well-known and well-off Pontiac dealer, Dwayne Hoover.
My attention has been focused on California's gubernatorial race and my support for Phil Angelides, where as the polls predicted and most unfortunately, a "fabulously well-to-do" former bodybuilder and Hollywood action 'movie star' won. Like the Pontiac dealer, Dwayne Hoover, whose appearance on the outside molds neatly to the status quo, Arnold won by a landslide not by any measure of personal character or integrity but precisely the opposite. Sadly, voters elected Schwarzenegger because they want to identify with figures larger and louder than themselves which in turn ratifies their own deficient existences.
When Kurt Vonnegut wrote Breakfast of Champions, he said the following about his motivation:
"As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I had become more and more enraged and mystified by the idiot decisions made by my countrymen. And then I had come suddenly to pity them, for I understood how innocent and natural it was for them to behave so abominably, and with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented instory books. This was the reason Americans shot each other so often: It was a convenient literary device for ending short stories and books. Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tissues? Because that was the way authors customarily treated bit-part players in their made-up tales. And so on. Once I understood what was making America such a dangerous, unhappy nation of people who had nothing to do withreal life, I resolved to shun storytelling. I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. Iwould bring chaos to order, instead, which I think I have done. If all writers would do that, then perhaps citizens not in the literary trades will understand that there is no order in the world around us, that we must adapt ourselves tothe requirements of chaos instead. It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done."
Many have said that Angelides did not get his message out or that his message was not clear. That's bullshit. The bloc of voters that he needed to carry him were the faux democrat sell outs. You can't fix stupid and apparently, you can't fix greed.
No doubt he did not have the huge special interest war chest like the Gropinator but greed and hubris are the problem. Californians proved that they are by and large a hubris addled lot and are deluded. Today while the pigs at the trough celebrate, it is an embarrassing day for intelligent and decent citizens who care about our society enough to want to make a difference; albeit a day that has served to mobilize the country for 2008.