Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Why does the American media and American politics lack grandstanding and showmanship like this? Or am I just missing it? Is the joy I derived from this the same kind of pleasure that hate-radio aficionados derive from master rhetoricians like Rush Limbaugh? The substance of what Galloway says here is nothing new, but the vigor and venom with which he says it makes it seem as if these things are being disclosed for the very first time.

Americans seem to prefer that their politicians act like sonorous simpletons so that they can feel wiser than those glad-handing, cliche-spouting dullards and believe that politics has no impact on their lives and curtails none of their personal autonomy, even as their tax dollars are being misappropriated and the very real impact of decaying social conditions impacts their precious personal freedom. Most likely America will never have fire-breathing politicians like this (who are not spouting religious invective, anyway) because this kind of rhetoric teems with wit, and Americans of all poltical persuasions seem to be unite in one thing, their contempt for intellectuals. Smart politicians conjure immediately the "know-it-alls in Washington who presume to know what's best for you and your family" attack and quickly become unviable.

Also, boring politics leads to voter apathy, which leads to protected incumbents and entrenched systems of political patronage. Apparently, nothing is better for the powers that be in a "democracy" than an uninterested electorate. So it is in the vested interest of politicians to be dullards and bad speakers, characteristics that are likely enforced collectively, each upon the other, through traditions and passed-down rules of decorum and myriad other little ways. Perhaps that's why it's so refreshing to see someone come in from the outside (a real Washington outsider as opposed to all the phoney pseudo-populist ones the system dredges up) and blows all that self-protecting crypto-gentility away.

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