A couple of excerpts from Steve Shaviro’s most recent post on the electoral campaigns. I won’t try to paraphrase or summarize Steve’s thought here, since he is a much abler writer than I, and I make no claim to understand his response to Zizek’s views about the election. Rather, in my ongoing effort to post only those bits of political comment that I find especially rousing, depressing, or otherwise affectively engaging, I offer the following:
It is not stupid to vote for McCain/Palin; rather, it is evil. Republicans are intrinsically, and necessarily, morally depraved. Anyone who votes for McCain/Palin, or supports them, by that very fact demonstrates that he or she is a person utterly devoid of basic morality, and lacking in any respect for others. To vote for McCain is to shit on human civilization, and show utter contempt for human values and human hopes. And not in spite of the Democrats’ hypocrisy, but rather precisely because of this — because their hypocrisy is, as it were, the compliment that vice pays to virtue — the moral thing to do in this election is to vote for Obama.
And, somewhat following this:
Even though there are nearly 6 weeks left until the actual election, it is pretty clear at this point that the race is already over. McCain is the indubitable winner, with the only question being whether his margin of victory will be as slender as Bush’s margin over Kerry, or as vast as Bush Sr.’s margin over Dukakis (of course, it will probably end up being somewhere in between). So you might say that this posting enacts a sort of proleptic mourning. The irony, though, is that I am mourning, not the failure of some grand hope, but rather merely the continued frustration of a hope that, even in “victory,” would not have been fulfilled. I am mourning, in advance, the failure of a failure.
While not naive, I like to think, about the hypocrisy Steve writes of here, I am less committed to the notion that Obama’s rhetoric of hope is some sort of empty-if-meaningful stance than Steve is. Or, perhaps rather, I am more willing to accept it on face value, even if I acknowledge the unlikelihood (as Steve’s post points out) that anything resembling Obama’s greatest promises of change are really likely to occur should he win the election.