Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lazy Train

When Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush are the voices of reason on your side, maybe it's time to reconsider your basic premises. This is about to be the next entrant in the Tedious Summer Fake Debate sweepstakes, now that the required shark attacks and Trump announcements are already out of the way. At least one half-assed "tradition" will be "scrutinized" and Both Sides Will Be Heard.

The tradition of flying a flag that celebrates systemic racism and plunder will be said to come down to the noble voters of South Carolina, who will get their backs up in righteous indignation, drawl some obvious untruths, and tell everyone to go fuck themselves. Short of a tourism boycott, you're not going to talk these rubes out of their stupid tree. They're fine with lying to themselves and everyone else about the nature of that hateful rag and what it represents.

Ordinarily you'd just say, well, let morons be morons and leave it at that. And perhaps that's where we'll end up. But nine people got slaughtered in a church a few days ago because some deranged dipshit decided that he'd had enough of something. The same mindset that defends that damned flag is precisely the same mindset that composed said dipshit's actions.

Another tradition is that of giving South Carolina -- a state notable for exactly two things:  being the first state to attempt to secede, and having about 1.5% of the US population -- a prominent role in selecting the next president. To the extent that the electoral process for picking imperial custodian even matters, with its perpetual campaign machine and roster of mostly worthless choices, the insistence on giving tiny states where no one lives first choice on legitimizing candidates undermines the validity of that process. Larger, more populous states such as California and New York -- and yes, Texas and Florida as well -- don't have a voice until Iowa and South Carolina and New Hampshire have had their say.

It's bad enough that a depopulated ghost state like Wyoming has exactly the same number of US Senators as California, a state with about 66 times as many people, and at least four cities each with more people than all of Wyoming. It's ridiculous that preliminary choices are entirely ceded to small states that are not representative of anything but themselves.

I've felt increasingly that the post-Westphalian nation-state paradigm is increasingly outmoded, that what worked to preserve order in 1648 has perhaps run its course nearly four centuries later. Maybe the fifty states would work better as a loose confederation of regional entities that regulate trade, and leave each other to their picayune bullshit.

Maybe the taker states, adding nothing of value in the first place and no longer having their nonsense supported by the maker states, would be forced to get honest with themselves, and join the 21st century. Or not. With that sort of setup, what goes on in the backwaters would have as much relevance as news from Pakistan or Gambia.

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