Another wingnut bolts the GOP
Rank and file wingnuts--racists, patriarchalists, homophobes, and everyone in between--have been betrayed and enslaved by their corporate masters. And they know it. Their masters have engaged them in bondage, subservient to the NSA's All-Seeing Eye on the greenback's mighty Pyramid, with chains as invisible at first as Jacob Marley's. And now that dawn has finally broken over marble head, there is no recourse--nowhere for them to turn when they shout in unison to let their people go. They are trapped in a bind of their own creation, such that now they wander aimlessly in an intellectual desert parched by the twin Tattooine suns of Coulter and O'Reilly--and no manna from heaven can save them.
There is so much dissatisfaction with the GOP right now--and president Bush in particular--that you could cut it with a knife. And last night I found out just how bad it had become: the craziest, nuttiest wingnut I have ever known has officially turned his back on the GOP.
I've known him for years, yet I don't know his name. He is a gamer, you see--and in the gaming world, as in the blogging world, people's real identities tend to be anonymous (unless they choose otherwise--or unless some asshole outs them). And, in order to protect even his online persona from scrutiny, I will simply, for the purposes of this post, call him "Joe."
I am also a gamer: I have been a member of the same competitive PC-gaming clan for almost a decade now, ever since I was a teenager; we mostly play first-person shooters in the sci-fi genre. Within this virtual reality, "Joe" and I have been teammates and brothers for many years, always getting the other's back and protecting the other from the virtual gunfire of opposing teams--even though we couldn't be farther apart on the political spectrum. Even for someone like me, there are arenas, literally and figuratively, where politics comes second.
In-between tests of skill in the camaraderie of gaming, however, there have been multiple arguments over the years in what our clan calls "The Senate." Political arguments. Arguments whose heat would make even Armando blush. It got so bad, in fact, that the "Senate" was eventually shut down by the right-wing Republican clan leader.
"Joe" was and has always been one of the main proponents and loudest voices of the GOP line. In order to give you a taste of just how wingnutty "Joe" is, I'll just give you one example:
During the 2004 election season, Joe was going on about how one could not be a patriot without supporting the war that one's country was engaged in. When I asked him whether a German would have been obligated to support Hitler's visions of conquest in 1937 or else be considered unpatriotic by Joe, Joe responded "yes"--that a German's two choices were to renounce his/her citizenship, or actively support Hitler's upcoming wars, and that I should do the same regarding America in Iraq. Joe also thinks that all forms of welfare should be abolished permanently, and that homosexuality should be illegal. In 2004, he asserted that George W. Bush was the greatest President in America's history at least since Lincoln, if not before.
There are many, many other examples of Joe's wingnuttiness, but I think the ones I provided should suffice.
Last night, however, something had happened to Joe. Joe was lost--wandering Phaoroh Bushenaton's desert with no Moses to guide him, and eschewing any and all dictates of Karl Rove's Commandments.
I had not gamed with or spoken to Joe for many months before last night: we had both been busy with our lives, and had not had much time for fun and games. And it had been even longer since we had discussed politics.
So it came as something of a shock to me not only that he and I were back online together again, but that he brought up the subject of politics to me after such a long hiatus.
I cannot reproduce the exact transcript of his statements, but the conversation went something like this:
Joe: You know, we've got a real problem with all these Mexicans.
Intrigued, and deciding to play it a bit coy, I demurred:
Me: Hmmm...what do you mean?
Joe: They're coming in and taking all our jobs, and our Congress won't do a damn thing to stop them. There's even threats of massive layoffs where I work!
This was news to me. Joe works in a middle-class profession; yet he thought a Mexican was going to take his job?
Me: I'm terribly sorry to hear that, Joe. I hope you're doing all right, and that things stay stable.
Joe: Me too.
After a brief pause, I decided to try a gambit.
Me: You know, you can't lay this one at our feet. You've got a serious problem with your own prez on this...
At this point, I half-expected a big diatribe against liberals from Joe. But none was forthcoming. The other half of me expected some sort of single-issue backlash against Bush. What I actually got floored me.
Joe: Yeah, definitely. Bush has COMPLETELY sold this country down the river. And not just on immigration. The man is a real menace to the entire country right on down the line--and the Congress ain't much better.
After collected my senses and picked up my jaw from clattering on the floor, I asked,
Me: Really? I can't believe I'm hearing this from you. Why do you say that? I mean, I have my reasons, but...
Joe: The rich just keep gettin' richer, and the poor get the shaft. All over the place. And I'm sick and fucking tired of it.
At this point, it was over. I sprang in on immigration...
Me: Well, I couldn't agree more. And you know, the reason Bush has sold you down the river on immigration is because the corporations that fund him want to keep paying only $3 an hour labor.
Joe: We need a wall. A big fucking wall.
Me: Well, maybe. But I don't think a wall will stop them. You're a supply and demand guy: you know as well as I do that if we companies stopped hiring them, they would stop coming. But the companies line Bush's pockets...
Joe: Man, it's about time SOMEBODY stood up for real Americans.
Now, of course, Joe's sentiment was lined with the vilest racism, but the frames were ALL OURS. Not the DLC's; not Karl Rove's; but OURS.
It was then that I went on a verbal rampage: I talked, gently, about how wages were down versus inflation; how productivity had shot up versus wages; how CEO pay has increased 700% in the last 10 years, while workers got the shaft; how corporate profits had gone up 93% in the past five years while workers lost their pensions and got outsourced.
It was then that Joe said something truly extraordinary: "Man, this country is fucked--and somebody better get it unfucked real quick. I won't vote for a Dimocrat because they don't stand up for guys like me either--so it looks like I'll be staying home playing the WoW [world of warcraft] on November 7th."
The opportunity lying in our hands is extraordinary, my friends. Guys like "Joe" are waiting--no, begging--for SOMEBODY--ANYBODY--to deliver a message of economic populism.
They are crying out for deliverance from their economic bondage--to be released from the ponderous chains.
They would sooner eat bug poop than support the GOP--but they still see no reason to support Democrats.
What say you, friends? Are we going to sit on our asses and pray that Joe really stays home from the polls in November? Or are we going to give him a reason to vote--in spite of his own racism and homophobia--for a Democrat?
Our options are painfully clear at this point: we can Moses, part the sea that divides red and blue, and lead these wandering slaves out of intellectual and political exile. Or we can sit back, do nothing, and pray for the best.
Me? I know where I stand. I stand with Moses.