It’s the culture, stupid!
Or is it the stupid culture?
Pollsters, prognosticators, pundits, and politicians tell us otherwise, of course. Constantly we’re bombarded by the drums pounding jobs, jobs, jobs, and ominous reminders of how – “It’s the Economy, Stupid!”
But is it really the stupid economy?
It must be, for so we’re told at every turn.
Simply snatch up any convenient article, like this one from the Washington Post, with the latest Washington Post – ABC News polls, and you get statistics that explain, “the still struggling economy amounts to a huge political weight around President Obama’s ankles.” And because of economic factors, the simple conclusion here: “Obama could win the day-to-day part of the race and still lose on November 6.”
If perhaps you want something even more demonstrative and definitive to prove the point, take this piece about a computer-forecasting model done by political scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Blithely, the reader is informed that this analysis of election factors has accurately predicted the winner of every presidential election since 1980. And guess what – Mitt Romney will be the big winner this year.
According to CU Professor Kenneth Bickers, election prediction models “suggest that presidential elections are about big things and the stewardship of the national economy. It’s not about gaffes, political commercials or day-to-day campaign tactics.”
It’s the economy, stupid. . . . Or, so we’re told.
Even when a harmonic is sounded corresponding with what’s really going on underneath all this blathering about the economy, when a dunderhead like Congressman Todd Akin spouts his gibberish about “legitimate rape,” and how “the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down,” writers like historian Dr. Tim Stanley note: “For the Democrats, Akin’s comments are paydirt. Obama has been trying for eight months to switch the narrative of 2012 away from jobs and onto culture, and this is his perfect opportunity. Still, since Akin’s standing in the polls altered little after his remarks, Dr. Stanley suggests that, “economics continues to eclipse social policy in the popular mind.”
So, it is the economy, eh, stupid?
It must be. Why otherwise would Mitt Romney select House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan as his running mate? Preaching the gospel of fiscal austerity, promising to take from the poor and give to the rich, Romney/Ryan know full well the 2012 election is all about the economy and if they harp on it enough, they might prove computer generated models correct.
But maybe, just maybe, it could all be the smokescreen of the economy, stupid!
Don’t for a minute linger on (one example), the lack of job bills produced by the recent obstructionist GOP that drummed jobs, jobs, jobs – even though they concurrently attempted to push over thirty abortion-related bills through the House.
And why in the world would we want to focus on Romney’s specific jobs plan?
After all, writer Mike Konczal easily perceives Romney’s plan is the same old GOP plan as John McCain had in 2008, and the same as George W. Bush had in 2006 and 2004. Konczal sums it up by noting: “The same exact playbook is there in 2006, as it was in 2004 and 2008, and as it is in 2012. Domestic oil production, school choice, trade agreements, cut spending and reduce taxes and regulations — it’s been the conservative answer to times of deep economic stress, times of economic recovery, times of economic worries, and times of economic panic. Which is another way of saying that the Republicans have no plan for how to actually deal with this specific crisis we face.”
Regardless, even if the Republicans “have no plan,” could it work?
Now that would be a smart economy, eh? – not stupid!
Well, after the RNC, the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch chimed in on the doubts concerning Romney’s claims to create 12 million jobs. They said, “Romney’s 12 million jobs plan was met with skepticism, however, as economists wondered how he would be able to create 250,000 jobs a month in the current financial environment. The U.S. created 163,000 jobs in July, the best showing since February.”
Further, Michael Moran, an economist with Daiwa Capital Markets was quoted in the same article saying, “I think that would be a challenge. I think it’s unlikely to happen.” Moran also said, “12 million is an ambitious number,” even as Market Watch noted, “Earlier in the campaign, Romney had suggested 500,000 jobs a month as a target — one that he’s evidently dialed back.”
Romney’s “plan” may indeed be smoke and mirrors, yet to be fair, what Obama is accomplishing or can accomplish with the obstructionist GOP is obviously not enough.
So what might be happening here on a deeper level if the air could clear of the ongoing and repetitively shrill verbal smokescreen about the economy?
Could it be the culture, stupid?
Or is it the stupid culture?
Maybe it’s not a stretch to suggest that to have truly sustainable economic progress for the long-term (read: jobs, jobs, jobs), it is necessary to first effect cultural changes. In fact, it is likely that true cultural change is absolutely necessary and antecedent for authentic economic change to be possible.
For a moment, let’s imagine a very different cultural future by briefly examining what we have today.
What we have now is a stupid culture, a very stupid culture.
It is the product of thousands of years of history and most of us have been brought up under its sway completely unaware. It is a culture both patriarchal and hierarchal. It is thoroughly rooted in male dominance that extols virtues of ruthless competition, exploitation, greed, and even violence to achieve self-aggrandizing ends.
The plutocrats at the top, those we now commonly call the 1%, are forever hell bent on appropriating more and more of the productive surplus of the whole, while consequently reducing what’s been called the 99% to lives of increasing marginalization and destitution. In a stupid culture ordered and organized this way, half of our species – women – are repressed and suppressed by males of this archaic and cretin mindset and, as a whole, the human species suffers as a result.
Unfortunately, in this stupid culture, the 99% unwittingly aids and abets the 1% male-dominant organizing principle when heeding either Republican or Democrat calls for jobs, jobs, jobs, and/or “fixing the economy.” The sad truth is when, “it’s just the economy, stupid” – as in recent election cycles – what’s being promoted is merely a temporary fix for one part (the economy) of a broken culture, a stupid culture.
Our American economy, indeed, our global economy, often appears anymore to be in a tailspin of disastrous proportions. And this is not because of the Eurozone crisis, George W. Bush’s economic policies, Obama’s policies, or Romney’s supposed economic “cures.” The crux of the problem is that we are reaching the tipping point for the viability of that stupid culture.
Our species on this planet now faces dangers of epic proportions we’ve never before encountered. Because of the stupid culture, we are confronted by environmental havoc and the reality of diminishing resources while driven relentlessly forth by mindless overconsumption and senseless waste. A prime example of the lunacy of the stupid culture course is that even while denying the reality of global warming and melting ice in the Arctic, “the companies that caused this disaster are scrambling to profit from it.” And as far as governments are concerned that are guided by the stupid culture, “their one unequivocal response to the melting has been to facilitate the capture of the oil and fish it exposes.”
The long and short of it is that the stupid culture has been aggressively destroying the very conditions on which it depends – and is indeed reaching its tipping point.
So what is the solution?
It is at once both simple and extremely difficult.
Change the culture, and you will change the economy. Change the culture, and you change the politics. Change the culture – and you rise beyond the stupid culture.
It is easy enough to imagine a culture different from what we inherited and what is the opposite of what we now “enjoy.”
It would be a culture where cutthroat competition, exploitation, and greed are not paramount; but people would work cooperatively and collaboratively for the good of the whole.
It would be a culture where the quality of life is more important than the quantity of possessions.
It would be a culture where we get it through our thick skulls that this is the only planet we all have, and resources for the survival of our species are limited and must be equitably shared.
It would a culture where women and men are equal for the betterment of all, an environment where stupid old men no longer attempt to impose their dominance over women with transvaginal probes and suppressive dictates concerning autonomous female bodies.
The problem is the stupid culture.
Change the culture, and you’ll change the economy.
It’s the culture, stupid.