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Saturday, January 31, 2004

Brother, Can You Spare a Vote?

It was an unseasonably warm day about a week ago and I was sitting outside at some coffee place in downtown Seattle. Across from me was a woman wearing a Howard Dean t-shirt. A vagabond or homeless-looking guy came by and told the woman that he was a Republican and that he was voting for Bush. The woman commented that her son was working for Dean. The exchange was friendly and casual. To the untrained eye this was a thoroughly meaningless event but to an astute observer of politics, like me, it is easy to see a metaphor. Either a metaphor or a parable. Either a metaphor or a parable or something. Then again maybe it was nothing.

To me the homeless guy represents everyone who makes under $500,000 a year who is foolish enough to think the Republicans give two shits about anyone in their lousy little income bracket. Ronald Reagan said before he was president that he still believed America was a place where a guy could become a millionaire. What a stupid vision! That homeless guy probably spends his imaginary millions in his mind every time he scratches off a lotto ticket.

If just because you graduated from college, and you wear a tie to work, you think you are in the Republican inner circle, you are a fool and you need to turn off the TV and start getting some news. A lot of lower-middle class people vote for Republicans because they want to outlaw abortion for poor people (rich people have always had access to abortion, always will), this makes Republicans more moral. You can bask in the morality of the right as you look for a job after the Republicans sent yours packing to China.

The Oshkosh plant in Tennessee shut down leaving 1,500 people without jobs. The average income in the town dropped to $13,000 a year yet I’m sure a good percentage of those miserable wretches will vote Republican because they’re afraid the Democrats will take away their guns. You can keep your guns because the only decent jobs your kids will be able to find will be in the U.S. Army which seems to be accepting only economic conscripts.

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