Dear UR readers, I apologize for the hiatus. While I have been busy, there’s more to it than that.
For those of us who mock and despise democracy, an election year is a special challenge. I am not a citizen of abstract timeless infinity. I am an American of 2012. Democracy is our religion. The election is our communion. Having conquered the world, we have made it our church. From Nunavut to New Guinea and Uruguay to Uzbekistan, our glorious election is the news of the day, the week, the month, the year. If I lived in a Catholic world, every Sunday a Mass, would I fart proudly at the missal to display my glorious atheistic contempt? What a vain, void and petty gesture.
But fortunately, church is now out and I can say my piece.
Do I need to say my piece? I just got home from an election-night party. I’ve spent enough time saying my piece. I was the only Obama supporter in the room. And the most right-wing right-wing extremist. My throat hurts.
So I’ll let one greater than me say his piece—which I’ve quoted before:
Cease to brag to me of America, and its model institutions and constitutions. To men in their sleep there is nothing granted in this world: nothing, or as good as nothing, to men that sit idly caucusing and ballot-boxing on the graves of their heroic ancestors, saying, “It is well, it is well!”
Corn and bacon are granted: not a very sublime boon, on such conditions; a boon moreover which, on such conditions, cannot last!–No: America too will have to strain its energies, in quite other fashion than this; to crack its sinews, and all but break its heart, as the rest of us have had to do, in thousand-fold wrestle with the Pythons and mud-demons, before it can become a habitation for the gods.
America’s battle is yet to fight; and we, sorrowful though nothing doubting, will wish her strength for it. New Spiritual Pythons, plenty of them; enormous Megatherions, as ugly as were ever born of mud, loom huge and hideous out of the twilight Future on America; and she will have her own agony, and her own victory, but on other terms than she is yet quite aware of.
“To men in their sleep there is nothing granted in this world.” Dear conservatives! Eat the pain! There are two kinds of Americans celebrating tonight—true believers, and right-wing extremists. “America’s battle is yet to fight.” Yes, dear conservatives. A long time ago, Bismarck told you that God looks after fools, drunks, and the United States. With God on your side, how can you lose? But God, it turns out, is not to be taken for granted. Possibly his mind has even changed! And there’s a lot of fools getting drunk tonight. At least they are no longer sleeping. Isn’t pain better than sleep?
Do you want some Megatherions? As ugly as were ever born of mud? I know this clip is cliched. I still can’t get enough of it. Romney! He sucks!
Dear conservatives, what exactly are you going to do about this phenomenon? “It is well, it is well!” Some more corn? A little bacon? I have a plan. Oh yes, I have a plan! But you would have to ask me. You’d have to want to hear it. Why should I post it, when you don’t want to hear it?
Actually, I am not such a cynical little bitch as you might think. Had Romney exceeded the margin of fraud—had he scraped up another 2% of his liver-spotted “Greatest Generation” Americans to outcount the 110% turnout from “evybody in Cleveland”—I would have been partying with the rest of the room. Who is immune to peer pressure? But sick and scared, I assure you, at heart.
Because when Maistre says that every nation gets the government it deserves, I believe him. Maistre didn’t think his great law was a law of physics. He thought it was a law of God. I am not a religious person, but I agree. History has convinced me that when laws of God are broken, bad shit happens. Bad shit will happen anyway. But isn’t Obama bad enough?
Dear conservatives, I agree with you about Mitt Romney. It seemed clear to me that Mitt Romney was a basically decent and capable individual. Had America been what you thought it was, had the Presidency been what you thought it was, he would have been a perfectly fine man for the job.
But you cannot convince even yourself that America deserved Mitt Romney. Can you? Read your Maistre. Louis XVI, too, was a basically decent and capable individual—believe it or not. France could have thrived under him and his heirs to the present time. Indeed France without the Revolution—any European nation without the Revolution—would be the greatest nation on earth today. America not excepted.
Would France have deserved this triumph? Maistre says no. What she deserved was punishment, and God agreed. At least, if we can equate God with reality—a point on which theists and atheists can, I hope, concur. The reality is that France was scourged from end to end, and has not even come close to recovering. Why? As an atheist, I assert, it was a coincidence. Impiety proceeded tragedy, sure, but might not piety have proceeded it as well? As always, history proves nothing.
Dear conservatives, America’s battle is yet to fight. It may not be your battle. But to hand it off to a basically decent and capable individual, a Mitt Romney, is to say: I see no battle. I would rather sleep. If there is a battle, God, I’m sure, will take care of it while I’m sleeping. Surely, with our model institutions and constitutions, we cannot lose. And if we do—it was a coincidence.
Dear conservatives, I have a question for you. Suppose God appeared to you in your sleep, and gave you a choice. You could lose your country, but keep your institutions and constitutions. Or, you could lose your institutions and constitutions, but keep your country. Which would you choose?
But I don’t have to choose, you say! Au contraire, mon frère! I will save my country, by saving her institutions and constitutions! Which are the best in history ever! Look at all this corn and bacon! Dear conservatives, this is just your way of cursing God. Do you think he doesn’t have enough fools and drunks to look after?
Do you know what terrifies me? What terrifies me is that not only do I not think America deserves Mitt Romney, I don’t even think America deserves Barack Obama. After all, a couple of centuries of diligent looking-after has run us up quite a tab with God. A tab that will be paid or punished. What terrifies me is that while I see no collective interest in paying the tab, it doesn’t seem to me that the punishment has even begun to begin. Barack Obama isn’t exactly Robespierre, you know. “Capable” might be going too far, but “basically decent” isn’t that much of a stretch.
What terrified me about Mitt Romney is that four years, eight years, of Romney would have been pure borrowed time. There was not even the slightest intention to pay the tab. Your intention, dear conservatives, was to sleep and be merry. Your debt is already terrifying. Fall on your knees, dear conservatives, and thank God from the bottom of your heart that you didn’t put another decade on it.