Friday, October 15, 2010

Yankee Doodle at the Tea Party

The main character in this story, which is fiction, is a 33-year-old man who lives in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He normally works at least 50 hours a week, although he only gets paid for 40 hours. He works in a warehouse-like building full of audio visual equipment, which he delivers to clients who rent it for big trade shows and conventions; he also works on the crews that set up and tear down the gadgetry. He is one of 21 fulltime employees at the local branch of an AV rental company that has similar branches in seven other cities along the East Coast. He lives in a two-and-a-half room apartment, not counting the tiny bathroom. He has a satellite dish and watches a lot of sports. He is divorced. He makes good on his monthly child support payments over half the time to his ex, who has custody of their seven-year-old daughter; the softhearted ex gives him a hard time but she lets him get away with it. He smokes a pack of Camel Filters every day. He drinks a six pack of Bud Light Lime every night. His name is Josh.

The two men who own the company that employs Josh are millionaires, several times over. Josh admires them even though neither seems to know his first name; one of the owners has never spoken to him in the nearly four years he‘s been on the job.

Like his successful bosses, Josh considers himself a conservative, when it comes to politics. Also like them, Josh’s two favorite sports teams are the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys.

In the company trucks on the road, in the process of driving AV equipment back and forth, Josh likes to daydream about being a wealthy man. He thinks about what sort of cars and boats he’d have. He thinks about traveling and staying in fancy hotels. He thinks about watching Super Bowls from inside private luxury boxes. He thinks about drinking expensive Tequila. He thinks about having a beautiful redheaded secretary who travels with him and services his account on a regular basis. He thinks about what cigars he’d smoke. He thinks about wearing a Rolex watch and shoes imported from Italy. He thinks about playing golf on the world’s most famous courses and hobnobbing with the other wealthy men. He thinks about not having to work. Josh can see it all in his mind’s eye.

When he’s not imagining how he’d spend his fortune -- if he had one -- Josh listens to talk radio; politics and sports, mostly. He’s a big fan of Rush Limbaugh and Jim Rome. Although he's not religious, Josh likes televangelist Glenn Beck, too. Those well-to-do men are good at saying what Josh likes to hear, because he's a Yankee Doodle Dandy kind of guy who loves his country and hates trade unions, although he‘s never been a member of a union.

This year Josh is a Tea Party kind of guy, too.

In his Oct. 2 OpEd for the New York Times Frank Rich wrote: "[Christine O'Donnell] gives populist cover to the billionaires and corporate interests that have been steadily annexing the Tea Party movement and busily plotting to cash in their chips if the G.O.P. prevails."

Josh hasn’t ever read what Frank Rich has to say about politics and he‘s not about to start now. He heard Rush call Frank Rich a “Dem Flack,” so Josh doesn‘t care that Rich says the Joshes of the Tea Party movement are dupes who don‘t even know where their bread is buttered. Josh is against taxes and he thinks Christine O‘Donnell is sassy.

Josh wants the Bush tax cuts for millionaires to continue. Not only does he believe in the whimsical trickle-down notion that the super wealthy need tax cuts to create more jobs like his, Josh expects to be a multimillionaire, himself, one day. Josh doesn’t believe in ivory tower theories like evolution, global warming or the national deficit.

Josh wants America to leave the United Nations tomorrow. Josh also believes it would be a good idea to nuke Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan all on the same day. Josh’s favorite movie is “The Godfather.” He loved how Michael Corleone had all of his family’s enemies wiped out in one doomsday of payback. So, Josh would be happy to include Somalia, with its pirates, on the to-be-nuked list. Angry Josh is too conservative to enjoy Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Josh would also be happy to deport every undocumented worker in one day to create jobs for real Americans. Logistics don't concern him. The next day he would close every mosque in the USA and deport every Muslim who isn‘t a U.S. citizen, born in America. Therefore, Josh believes President Barack Obama should be removed from office and sent to Kenya.

To win Josh’s vote, senate hopeful Christine O'Donnell proudly flaunts her angry ignorance as a sign she is more like him than her opponent and her elite detractors. It gets worse.

Josh hates elites almost as much as he hates ethnics with funny accents, gay men and unattractive lesbians. He has no opinion about witches. Although he disagrees with O’Donnell about masturbation, she will get his vote. In fact, Josh particularly enjoys masturbating when he's watching Christine on television.

While all of the above is fiction, nonetheless, it appears there are plenty of Joshes out there, dwelling on fantasies with Election Day approaching. Will these self-styled patriots vote in large numbers? Or will they be too occupied with holding their Bud Lite Limes in one hand and yanking their doodles with the other?

The End.


Anonymous said...

what is this, your fourth entry about Christine O'Donnell? She's not going to return your calls, Terry. Time to move on.

F.T. Rea said...

Don't know. Haven't been counting. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Josh.

Shaun Kenney said...

Most men would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor?

Something like that? :)

Of course, it's not that simple. I'd argue that this whole revolt didn't begin post-2008. Or with the Obama election. Or in 2006, for that matter.

Most Americans, of all stripes, are tired of a government that doesn't listen, barely understands how it works, and when it does work seems to work against their interests.

That's lefties and righties, liberals or conservatives, progressives or constitutionalists, looking for a job or working hard at the one you have -- we're all fed up.

Problem is, the "fed up" crowd is being spoonfed false dichotomies. Worse, a tiny sliver really understands economic realities and the conditions for which a good society can operate.

RFK. Accomplish liberal ends with conservative means. That's where most Americans are at, and neither party really achieves.

Good ol' Josh? Poor fella doesn't stand a chance until he stands on his own. Best of luck in this environment... and it's a crime we are forced to say that in America of all places.

Shaun Kenney said...

...and just to pile on, this isn't the whole "voters are too stupid to understand liberal policies" argument I'm reading above -- is it?

F.T. Rea said...

Yes, I agree, the “revolt” is nothing new, and it’s not really a single revolt. In fact, I don't really see a bona fide revolt. It‘s more like a sense of extreme frustration in the air. For the time being, it’s fueling our inability to build consensuses and craft compromises to solve problems. In spite of the bounty of benefits modern life provides, ordinary people, regardless of their political persuasion, seem way unhappy with how trapped and powerless they feel.

Americans are repeatedly told they are free, for now, but somebody is out to take it from them -- usually meaning the evil-doers on the other side of the aisle. Anger stemming from unmet expectations is being expressed with greater volume/reach than ever before, which probably makes the revolt, such as it is, seem new to some people.

Note: Because of the Internet, creating a Netroots movement or a Tea Party movement overnight is more possible than in the past. But it’s a pretty good bet both of them will fade away/be assimilated and the cumbersome two-party will bumble its way on into the future. But what about freedom?

In “One-Dimensional Man,” German-born philosopher Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) warned us in the 1960s about illusions of freedom: “Free choice among a wide variety of goods and services does not signify freedom if these goods and services sustain social controls over a life of toil and fear.”

Marcuse’s keen eye saw the counterfeit aspect of the processed brand of freedom that wielders of easy credit felt, even then, as they exercised their prerogative to select one set of time-payment obligations over another -- the freedom to choose between buying a Ford or Chevy.

Marcuse’s hard-nosed (extreme lefty) take on what he saw as controls over modern society is out of style today. But his understanding of how propaganda and fantasies work to control/direct the angry Joshes, even in our enlightened age, is timeless.

Shaun Kenney said...

...which is probably where those who decry the disconnect between craft and product have more going for them than folks realize.

"Shopclass as Soul Craft" is a great book that goes over this concept -- how people no longer know how to make things, and are thereby held hostage to the very problem Marcuse outlines. Rather than buy the $10 part, we'd rather buy the $300 washer. Is that really a choice? Or just a "social control" to get us to spend?