Sunday, September 9, 2012

Elephant Conquest

My sophomore year of high school I felt the itching of rebellion and drifted into a subtle bad-ass stage, or I should say, attempted to promote the appearance of one. I didn't have the balls to really get in trouble, but I did little things to sprinkle my angst into the world. When the new Super Wal-Mart opened, my friends and I would go there, fill up a shopping cart with ice cream, some perishables and other items throughout the store and then just leave it in some aisle. I justified this asshole move to myself since I worked at CVS at the time and my favorite task was restocking the returned/discarded bin around, so I could zone out and not talk to people. 

I also found myself apt to doodling. I particularly enjoyed drawing big, powerful elephants. I thought it was a beautiful animal, thought it could maybe be my power animal. I would doodle these elephants using a sharpie on the cafeteria tables where I had study hall. I fantasized that if I was ever working some corporate job, the greatest rebellion would be to max out the company credit cards on the purchasing of many elephants to be delivered on the vicinity. A kind of fuck you for no specific sake, fueled by the movies that came that year with anti-corporate tones; Fight Club and American Beauty. Amped up by the Fugazi albums I was absorbing. 

I wasn't truly sure why the elephant was this power symbol to me. I could look to other cultures and their spiritual representations. Ganesh for example, the elephant headed god in Hinduism. The collective subconscious maybe. I changed my AIM screen name to RadElephant. But when my friends noticed and asked me if I was Republican because I was so into elephants, I was immediately embarrassed by my oversight. I had forgotten this beast was the symbol of the Republican party, and here I was spreading their image around thinking I was cool, thinking I had a thing of my own. And if you're not a young republican, whoa man, being young and thought of as a Republican kind of hurt. Especially if you thought you were parading anti-corporate ideals. What a fucking misunderstanding, I thought. Why'd they have to go claim that beautiful animal, man? But I wasn't rooting for the other side necessary, I was voting for Ralph Nader in my school's mock election. 

The two party system is a chess match of driven blockage, finding opportunities to push through moves. But democracy isn't, or shouldn't be a mashing board of opponents knocking down the other side's pieces. Democracy should consist of many voices, having a say, and coming to a reasonable accommodation of each other's liberties and wishes. Democracy, if it were a game board, should look more like a Chinese checkers board with all the marbles intermingled, independent in one's own pock space, multiple views competing, just as fierce, yet co-existing beside a marble a bit different from itself because it has to interact, it doesn't have huge mob of buddies to back its arrogance. I speak like a Millennial, in the gyst of "everyone is a winner" because that's what democracy is, correct? Everyone having a say? Being a participant? Shouldn't capitalism thrive off of more options? Or does plan A or B suffice for our desperation? Platforms pieced together by desperation, because previous platforms laid the groundwork for desperate situations. The longer the two party system persists, the more losers we will accumulate, players checked and placed aside, forgotten about, because the game then focuses on taking down the other's King. One side muttering "dirty, bleeding heart liberal..." and the other muttering "heartless conservative greed ball." Each piece is pressured into accepting the aspersions of their side and bouncing fiercer ones back. 

Like a football game in perpetual overtime...

Stalemate, exhausted eyes, pissy spirits that don't want to play anymore but are obliged to keep on tearing up the grass while supporters pin on them their championship dreams. 

I am a political news junky in the way one is hooked on a soap opera.  The political arena is indeed a soap opera, but with actual consequences.

But the reasonable players keep my attention and earn my enthusiasm. And there are those players not so reasonable, they become villains, but not before declaring their opponent the villain.  They're less so playing for an underdog's cause. They're playing to win for themselves, maybe because there are certain monetary stakes, reelection funds, and that obsession makes for inconsistent, sloppy moves. The idea of winning becomes too important, fantasies of knocking out the opponent is the objective at hand. It causes them to drool it excites them so damn much. Solid strategy goes out the window. I like seeing smart defense when the offense is erratic. Bill Clinton's speech at the DNC was delightful.

I'd like to see a third party called, The Reasonable Party. Strength in conviction is a virtue to a degree, it's important to stick up for what we believe is right, apathy isn't a good option either. Standing up, voicing opinions is respectable until one party becomes blinded by the full speed of their quest that they forget other's have points of view. And rather than bolster up their own cause with supporting evidence and case studies, the energy of one's conviction is spent on belittling other perspectives because they may not understand them, or realize that asking to be understood themselves may be an effective strategy, because if another side is so fervent against them too, perhaps they aren't being understood either.

The fervent dream of an elephant conquest for an elephant conquest's sake is civically nauseating. And without effectiveness, much like my rash markered etchings on cafeteria tables. The recent Tea Party rally cries reminds me of my own rebellious immaturity at age 16. Perhaps the party should go all out, max out their coffers on a parade of elephants, shitting in the streets, making a dire mess of everything, so the extremism will mellow post overdose.

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