A reporter walks into a crowd of people chanting anti Bush slogans. He chooses a woman at random and interrupts her indecipherable rhythmic bile with a question: "What brings you out here to the protest today?"
She stares blankly. He thinks for a moment she is preparing a lucid statement of opposition to the current administration. She promptly proves him wrong.
"You came with your husband?"
"Yeah, I just came with him. I don't know that much about it."
How enlightened. Well, I guess blind, subservient vitriol is just as loud. Keep yelling, sister.
UNJUSTIFIED STEREOTYPE #1: The week willed, obedient women are at the protests. Old fashioned men who think a woman should simply defer to her man's opinion need look no further.
QUERY: If a right winger had knocked her up first, would she be off on the other side of the steps yelling "Support our troops?"
UNTENABLE CONCLUSION: Opposition is so important to our system that you don't need to base it on anything. Just be indignant. You are a credit to a time honored tradition of . . . I can't remember the term. I'm really just here with my wife.
A politician waves an article from USA Today as he blasts the powers that be for their oppression and suppression and I don't know what all. A day later, entities implicated in the "journalism" begin stating facts that happen to run contrary to the Gospel According to USA Today. The politician quiets down. Maybe he knows what's coming next. Sure enough, someone looks up his voting record and finds proof of him voting in favor of legislation eerily similar to that which he has been railing against--back when people he agreed with were in power.
UNJUSTIFIED STEREOTYPE #2: Americans' position on the issues and level of satisfaction with the power structure depends solely on whether or not they happen to ideologically agree with the party in power. Your opinion is not an opinion: If you hate the president, nothing he does will please you. If you happen to like the president, he can bomb all the innocent children and vitamin factories he wants. Your mind was made up when he called the fetus either a "baby," or an "unviable tissue mass."
QUERY: When the Economy is reported to be doing rather well, do you say "Damn, Bush's numbers are gonna go up," or "Wait a minute, if everything is fine, but consumer debt is at a record high, we might be headed for trouble that has nothing to do with who is in power." Wait, you didn't hear the economy was doing really well?
FLAWED BUT SEEMINGLY INEVITABLE LOGICAL CONCEPTUAL CHAIN: Politicians have, without exception, sold their souls to essentially identical party structures in much the same way that doctors have been swallowed up into the HMO's--with all the same nefarious results. The American people have been taken along for the ride. We are tools of a systemically corrupt machinery of extremes that reinforce each other. Given that said machinery is self sustaining, and designed to withstand the influence of individuals by a) pitting them against each other in ideological mortal combat, wherein anyone who appears to disagree with you is the enemy, and b) fooling them into thinking that by aligning themselves with a group of like-minded people, they can make a difference by defeating the bad guys on the other side, you have only two choices: 1) Give in--cuddle up in the cozy flannel of polarization, filter everything through the filter of who you are supposed to like and hate according to your chosen blanket--relax, knowing that party affiliation is all you really have to know about anyone, or 2) Give up--The system is broken--everything sucks--so you can with good conscience sign off and consider yourself above it all.
Whatever you chose, I don't want to hear about it. But do us a favor. Call poor Alec Baldwin's radio show and reassure him that even if the recent public MRI didn't reveal any brain mass, he is still a very good looking man with a talent for narration. When it's scripted.
UNJUSTIFIED STEREOTYPE #3: These Hollywood pretty boys are empty shells, who should not be allowed off the red carpet--for their own good, and the good of the nation.
QUERY: If a nation falls in the forest and there are no reality show TV cameras to record it, did it really happen?
COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED AND ABSOLUTELY UNDENIABLE CONCLUSION: Alec Baldwin (and everyone not making fun of him) is an idiot. He should run for president. He shouldn't BE president, but he should run. By himself he could scare up a viable third party movement.