Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We are all Carlos Zambrano Now*

As a White Sox fan, I should know better than to go to Wrigley Field, but last week a group of folks from Michigan rented a bus and a rooftop, so I went along. Aside from the shitty baseball-- the Cubs blew a 3 run lead in the ninth inning against the Phillies-- I had to endure the nouveau rich middle class political memes during the round trip. And since baseball on the North side is so abysmal, Cub fans generally chatter throughout the entire game, only finding out the final score on the way to the parking lot. It's a defense mechanism honed over the last century.

But as sunny as the day was, the conversation was pungent and fetid, and despite my attempts to concentrate on the debacle on the field, since I was the only non-Republican I was repeatedly engaged by my travelmates in all matter of political dialog. Did I really think Obama was doing a good job? How could I? Isn't it just now free license for all the bums to get welfare for life? How can higher taxes be anything but disastrous? How come I'm not afraid of terrorists? Medicaid patients are bankrupting us!... and on and on.

My favorite theme is always -- and it ALWAYS comes up-- when a Bush voter counters an argument with "Yeah but, there are a lot of things I don't agree with Bush about." Yeah but. The War in Iraq, which was based on lies, innuendo, propaganda and other purposeful deceptions? Yeah, nobody agrees with that. Increased entitlements, such as the Medicare Part D trillion dollar give-away to the drug companies? Yeah, I didn't think that was a good idea. The TARP bank and auto company bailouts? Yeah, that was unfortunate.

Well those are pretty big fucking things for a fiscal conservative to swallow in order to vote for Bush. How many puny welfare checks could be written for the cost of bailing out one bank? Eight weeks in Iraq could pay for the Medicaid for the entire nation for a year. Yeah but, indeed. Obama could literally heat the White House by burning dollar bills for the next four years and still not come close to the waste of George W. Bush.

Another rule when discussing politics on the North side: whenever you you mention the complete shitstorm that has occurred over the last 3 years, you are not ever allowed to utter the word "inherited", no, this is all "Obama's responsibility now", like why did it take that lazy incompetent bastard George Marshall so damn long to re-build Europe in 1949?!

The cognitive dissonance permeates every sentence as if the collective unconscious has been short-circuited in its futile attempt at justification of the failed Bush policies. Truly, the inference is that Republicans are gleeful that the system is fractured with shards blasted into smithereens, and every negative item--from the record jobless numbers to the horrific deficits-- can be laid undoubtedly at Obama's feet. And when this "sucker goes down" finally, they will already be screaming "I told you so."

I suppose Cub fans' irritability can be correlated to the abject failure that clings to their team like chancres on a syphilitic. To be a Cub fan after all is to be perpetually distraught, blaming managers, players and even other fans for the negative outcome that is pre-determined annually by the gods of Spring Training. Likewise, to be a Republican seems to be perpetually in fear of negative outcomes, blaming others for the national misfortune when it was you who made the biggest mistake in electoral history by electing George W. Bush president-- twice.

And certainly not every Cub fan is a Bush Republican, but the ones who attended the game with me certainly were. By the 9th inning, with the game on the line and the Cubs closer walking the bases loaded, I was taken aback by the aloofness of the fans, the complete lack of concern on even the most mundane level. This same aloofness informs their politics, as they are less than spectators to the national dramas, prattling on about their capital gains and the unfairness of the progressive income tax and playing victim to the obvious criminals who have wrested control of the government away from them.

The trip home was less eventful. Safely on-board the bus, we slept off the few beers and I tuned my radio to get the score of the White Sox road game-- yup, still in first place. Checked the news headlines-- Obama still president. I closed my eyes, lost in my respiratory rhythm, feeling heartened that while this country may be down a few runs, and forty-nine percent of our electorate are imbeciles, at least we've got a fighting chance.

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