Saturday, October 14

:: "Jackass" Voters

Jackass voter [definition]: a voter who allows himself to be kicked in the head over and over again by the leaders he has chosen, only to go back for more of the same. Provides an amusing political spectacle - until someone loses an eye.

For reasons I prefer to think of as obscure, I just read a news item called "Sara Evans: Sordid Divorce Details." It concerns a woman I’ve never met, who sings music I've never heard, dropping out of a television show I've never seen, and is really none of my business. But let's not dwell on my questionable time-management skills; rather, let's skip right to the interesting part.

[Warning: racy language in next paragraph. Ladies, cover your eyes!]

Ms. Evans claims her husband, Craig Schelske, "was keeping a stash of porn on his computer, including at least 100 pictures depicting him fully nude and several showing him engaged in sex with other women." Schelske also kept a record of his Craig's List personals ads, much of which "involve requests for three party and anal sex."

Here's the kicker: the article adds that Schelske is a former Republican candidate for Congress from Oregon.

Happily for those us with a burning desire to avoid being productive, there’s a goodly amount of material out there on the interweb regarding Citizen Schelske’s political career. For example,

[Warning: Republican “family values” language ahead. Ladies, grab your barf bags!]
  • As a candidate, Schelske claimed “Protecting Life” as one of his key issues: “Family is my highest priority. That’s why I’ll protect the rights of our unborn children.”
  • Schelske is the executive director of “American Destiny” “an educational organization that seeks to reeducate the American population and students in particular, as to the philosophical and religious origins of the American Civilization.” For a real treat, go to their website and read the bio sketches of “our team.” What a trio – straight out of a David Mamet scenario. (Glengarry Glenn Bible?)
  • Schelske compared himself favorably to the president: “Great leadership: character, integrity, vision and fortitude. Like him I will extol our values, provide vision, encourage unity, and strengthen our resolve to protect our nation and freedoms."
Now, my point here is not to draw a connection between Republicans and perviness, though it is tempting.

The real lesson here is two-fold: first, one of the defining characteristics of an authoritarian personality (and Republican "family values" voters are classic authoritarians) is gullibility. If you swath yourself in the trappings of authority ("successful businessman / homeowner/ husband/ father") these voters are more likely to swallow what you have to say without bothering to chew. Two, saying you will "extol" family values is almost impossible to verify. If an elected official says they support the environment, you can look at legislation on environmental issues and see how they voted. If they say they oppose higher taxes, you can do more than 'read their lips' - you can review their legislative actions. But when someone says they will exemplify "family values" you really have to go by surface impressions, the symbolism of what you think that term represents and, dare I say it, trust.

In other words, anyone can say they are "for" family values. This feeds into that magic equation: amoral hucksters seeking authority + chump voters looking for someone with authority. The question is, as these "Jackass" voters are kicked in the head over and over again by the hucksters they elect, will they smarten up, become even more submissive or bow out of political participation altogether?

No comments: