September 19, 2008

Shaviro is right: vote for Obama Link: The Pinocchio Theory » Blog Archive » More electoral ruminations (read the whole thing). Shaviro makes the best argument yet for voting for Obama. I'm convinced. ... no matter how hypocritical the Democrats are (and they are, if you think — for instance — about how Biden pours forth all this rhetoric about helping the less well-to-do citizens of this country, while at the same time he has spent his entire political career working hand-in-glove with the credit card industry to screw over working- and middle-class Americans just so Visa and MasterCard can increase their already obscene profit margins even further) — nonetheless, the fact that they pay lip service to human rights, human dignity, and freedom from unnecessary suffering makes them morally superior to the Republicans, who are so crassly cynical that they overtly and positively revel in the prospects of torture, bigotry, destroying the environment for quick corporate profits, and enriching the already-rich at the expense of everyone else. Thus, the Democrats’ hypocrisy is to be preferred to the Republicans’ cynicism, for good Kantian reasons (though Zizek would probably give Hegelian ones instead). As Kant famously said about the French Revolution, no matter how much this uprising might have “miscarried” or been “filled with misery and atrocities,” nonetheless any decent human being, observing the events of the Revolution from afar, would have to be caught up in “a wishful participation that borders closely on enthusiasm”; the sheer fact of this “sympathy,” despite everything that goes wrong in...
Conditions of possibility of impeachment By now it should not be surprising that truth and facticity have little to no bearing on American electoral politics at the national level (it must be my residual habermasianism that is repeatedly shocked by the Republicans' capacity to repeat lies; I really need to work on this). As I was thinking about this today, this condition (decline of symbolic efficiency) might also indicate why the Democrats were not completely wrong not to pursue impeachment. We are not living in conditions wherein Senate hearings are possible. More specifically, there is not enough of a common vocabulary, a shared conception of reality, that could enable anything like a sensical consideration of evidence. There are multiple examples of the absence of such conditions: the moronic former Senator from Alaska's description of the internet as a series of tubes and pipes; Cheney's continued insistence of a link between 9/11 and Iraq; the Right's denial of climate change; Phil Graham's reduction of the economic collapse of the country to whining. The entire McCain campaign basks in lies, from those about Obama's tax plan to those about Palin's leadership and McCain's maverick status (did anyone else notice the misspelled maverick signs at the GOP convention?). As we were talking about this, Paul rightly pointed out that impeachment proceedings could have been something like a new beginning, a rupture with and within the present such that a common vocabulary, a connection with Constitutional law and ideals would be (would have been) brought into being. One could...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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