Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Getting Ugly

I suppose the reasonable thing to do is be outraged by this, but God help me, I'm all outraged out.

I've already gone through the motions on this one. Talking about killing the president in serious, apparently earnest tones? I got you beat by four months, at least. That was when I heard someone (a resident of my house) yearn out loud for an opportunity to kill Bush. I admit, she was the only one I actually heard say it (though I don't seek out the conversation of people - I have more constructive and rewarding things to do, like counting toothpicks), but the people listening either agreed or were silent.

It's not like this kinda thing is unprecedented. I wouldn't be surprised if, 35 years ago, this same building I live in housed a good number of people for whom "Off the pigs" was one of their rhetorical standards. The difference today seems to be that back then, the mainstream media and political establishment didn't often tolerate that sort of thing, to say nothing of obsequiously indulging or fetishizing it as some kind of relevant, important voice of discourse.

Late into the night of the 2000 election, when most of media was officially calling it for Bush, several other house members were going around the house excitedly saying that people were assembling for a riot on Telegraph in response to Bush winning. If memory serves, the rage of the Berkeley street failed to materialize as anything more dangerous than a bunch of people standing around in the street occasionally trying to start up chants that quickly degenerated into simple dissonant shouting from a lack of cohesion.

True, they didn't do anything really threatening. And the motivation was likely as much about coming up with an excuse to go out late at night and have a party, if not to fuck shit up and stick it to the Man.

But they were still out there by the hundreds. And this was before they and their ideological bretheren had rallied around the mantra of a STOLEN ELECTION, when Bush was merely a silly chimp, not BUSHITLER, or the man who KNEW ABOUT 9/11, or the meat-grinder of American youth and Iraqi children in a WAR FOR OIL, or the rapist-murderer of ABU GHRAIB, or the filthy puppet of a ZIONIST CONSPIRACY, etc. etc.

Maybe Michele was right. Maybe there're Days of Rage ahead. Maybe if Bush is re-elected, there are going to be burning cars and smashed windows in quite a few places. I'm not convinced that's the case, but I wouldn't be surprised, either.