Want to know what the political has been reduced to? Politics.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. You've read your Laclau, Mouffe, Stavrakakis, and miscellaneous post-Marxist theorists of radical democracy. Actual political advocacy gets reduced to the give and take of political tactics and resignation to state change within the confines of traditional liberal market democratic forms of representation and so on. That's old news.
But I seriously think that American politics is in a crisis. Would you like to know what passes for mainstream political discourse in the 2004 election?
The Swiftboat "controversy" (It's kind of sad how effective this has been when the credibility of this groups gets decimated even further on a daily basis... especially since the guy who actually went to war is being portrayed as being somehow worse than someone who didn't)
Utterly misleading advertising that misrepresents the nuances of Kerry's positions (Note how the ends of Kerry's sentences just get chopped off)
The flip flopping idiocy (I refuse to believe that the RNC and Giulliani are so stupid as to not know that legislation changes when it's being debated and that support goes back and forth, especially in light of the Bush administration's own flip flops)
This stupid new Kittey Kelly book about Bush's cocaine usage. (Who the fuck cares?)
Here's an election that could have some really huge ramifications for the future of American political, economic, and social life and this is the most important stuff flying on the airwaves. It makes me want to vomit.
This election has gone off the cliff of the sublime and into the realm of the monstrous.
It's fucking sick and, regardless of who wins, I don't think it bodes well for the future of American politics. The vast majority of campaigning barely even pretends to have a substantive dimension. People cynically know that it's all bullshit, but probably don't care because they've withdrawn themselves from politics, have resigned themselves to blind support of a particular ideology at all costs, or find it entertaining. We're going to see more and more of this polarity between the candidates who largely refuse to take politicized stances on a number of issues and the non-affiliated Swift Boat-esque attack dogs who engage in superficial and irrelevent shit-fests on their behalf.
And spare me the stuff about how authentic politics is always already dead. I realize that. There's no such thing as pure politics. However, there are degrees of politicization between actual advocacy and this deceptive bullshit