Most years I hate this season; less light every day, and with every gust a whirl of summer leaves torn from winter branches. Maybe I dislike the resonance with my life’s own greybeard season. Maybe it’s the trio of huge Pacific storms we’re dealing with. Let’s be honest: Mostly, it’s shitty US politics. Some of the colors are beautiful though.
These days, it needs an effort of will to look away from America’s slow titanic electoral trainwreck. We should make that effort. All it takes is going for a walk and leaving your mobile in your pocket. At least for a few minutes. Long enough to look up, and stay looking up, because these won’t be here for long.
But it’s impossible to not think about That Election. The attractions of the public burnout of a pathetic bozo rich-kid attention junkie on the world’s largest stage aren’t to be denied.
The good news is, the bozo will soon retreat from the mainstage back to a minor-league freakshow that you only have to look at it if you want to.
But wow, poor America really needs an explanation for why 40% or so of its citizens are going to cast a vote that seems incomprehensible and insane. Something a little more convincing than “flyover victims” or “racists, basically”.
I have my own theory: “Fox-heads, mostly”. Where by “Fox” I include all the other right-wing talk radio too. I bet a lot of readers have never listened to it, but I do sometimes. These days I drive to Seattle regularly, in an old car without much but radio to listen to. In the north corner of Washington State, that’s often conservative talk.
Two things about it are striking. First, the endless drumbeat of lies taken as facts: Obama hates America, Hillary is a criminal, the Iran deal enables more bomb-building, Black Lives Matter is racist. Serious-toned grown-up voices with nationwide reach, saying these things over and over. After a while, I think it’s really hard to not start believing them.
Here’s the other thing about Fox and its ilk: The ads. It’s just scam after scam after scam: Get rich quick, fix baldness, more male vigor. (There’s a light springling of medical ads aimed at one condition or another, mostly pathologies of the elderly.)
It’s not surprising that people who might buy the crap on sale might also like the “Great Again” scam, which is of about equal depth and quality.
Have these autumn clouds any silver lining? Perhaps a very public demonstration that certain classes of bad behavior, while they may be rewarded on “reality” TV, are not in civic life.
Also, male chauvinism isn’t abstract any more, it has a face. A repulsive one, with bad hair.
It’s not much, but it’s something.