On Electoral Surprises and (Most) Winds Blowing Right

The Times They Are A-Changin’ by GeijvonTaen

Right is an interesting word sharing very different meanings, it is a political orientation some consider wrong while concurrently an evaluative expression of the correct.  Of course, there’s also write, and write right.  Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs and Heteronyms, hmmmm.  Write right, two words with a wealth of possible meanings, a very short poem as well but still managing to reflect allusions and all too frequently in today’s mainstream media, illusions.

“New York Times twists electoral results”, my personal lead sentence for the day, followed by the satirical observation “what a surprise”.

Yesterday, important elections were held in Venezuela and Austria with very different results, neither to the New York Times’s liking, the “reporting” reflects it.  “All the news that’s fit to print” become “all the print that fits our purpose”.

The Chavista victories in Venezuela contrasting with earlier polling (as is now usual almost everywhere) are criticized as possibly fraudulent (with the strong implication of probability); as usual, the opposition rejecting the results although they’re in line with voting results during the Constitutional Convention (“they’re all corrupt unless we win, to the battlements again, we need some more volunteer martyrs”); and in Austria, the vote is presented as a shocking surprise despite consistent polling, this time surprising in its accuracy as to trends.

The results, although in many senses polar opposites, are both reactive to United States led policies.

In Austria, as in most of Europe, the shift to the right reflects anti-refugee and anti-immigrant xenophobia very much in line with GOP – Trump perspectives in the United States, in all cases the obvious consequences of the Israeli inspired and led destruction of the Middle East; policies which have generated a flood of refugees for whom no one wants to assume responsibility.  We break the china and want it to mend itself as we keep breaking more and blocking the doors to would be repair people.  Not only malevolent but idiotic, unless of course, you’re a Zionist, in which case it’s just the way you’d want it.  Not only are victims being generated continuously among those whose lands you covet but then, the victims are being used to generate a backlash in your favor in the United States and Europe.  How strange for the descendants of the Holocaust, how strange for the self-proclaimed purported champions of liberty, democracy and peace.

In Venezuela, the people don’t seem to get the message from abroad (mainly the United States) and despite sanctions and de facto as well as de jure economic warfare designed to bring the recalcitrant majority to its knees (incidentally, right, that’s the word, incidentally) permitting reintroduction of neoliberal exploitation of the country’s vast mineral wealth, most of it currently sabotaged; and despite idiotic reactions from the government and the perpetual stench of corruption so common throughout Venezuelan history regardless of who’s in charge; the poorest among the electorate don’t seem willing to forget the past, seeming to somewhat appreciate the improvements in literacy, medical care and eradication of extreme poverty that Chavismo, despite its administrative ineptitude, has managed to attain.  In an odd way Chavismo promised equality and it’s being attained; as the poorest are marginally improving, the wealthy and the middle class are suffering (unfortunately for me, many in my family among them).  As in the case of Cuba with which Chavismo is constantly compared by both its opponents and adherents, it’s an experiment so contaminated by foreign and domestic economic manipulation designed to artificially generate and maintain shortages and sky high inflation, that evaluation of the accuracy of its postulates becomes impossible, unless one takes into account the results of similar experiments in Bolivia and Ecuador and Uruguay and Nicaragua; OK, and the Nordic countries as well, and Iceland.

Still, the mainstream media, especially in the United States can spin lead both out of and into gold, as the occasion warrants, unbound by any respect for truth; artistry and eloquence is what matters, electors’ short memories the canvass; and spin away it does, twenty-four-seven, on all cylinders, like a Ferrari stuck in the mud spinning its wheels faster and faster and casting mud everywhere.

The world responds unexpectedly but all too often, except perhaps for some reason in Venezuela, trending rightward towards racism, sexism, xenophobia and other strains of divisiveness, not surprising when the primary strategy of self-proclaimed liberals is “identity politics”, attaining maximum divisiveness through purported solidarity.  Of course, solidarity is always divisive, always us against some other group.  Identity politics, the art of the pejorative; sometime soon perhaps the recipient of one Nobel Prize or another, certainly of a few Oscars and Pulitzers.  Will Harvey Weinstein manage to sneak in?

I recall a libertarian friend (now wisely living in Canada, I think), Charles J. Champion, Jr. (what a name for either an athlete or a politician).  He and I were lamenting the Clinton years on a cold winter day (albeit in Florida) and then came another Bush, and then our lamenting evolving during the years that followed on how, every time we thought things couldn’t get any worse, worse they became.  That chain of links certainly stayed true with Obama and now Trump. But when one gets right down to it, the credit has to go back to the architect, the one who perverted the semblance of the left that once was and laid the path for those that followed, good old party wonk slick Willy, now determined to bring the house down after the popular rejection of his beloved bookend.

The “Times they are A’ Changing” although not quite the way we’d hoped.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen).  Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at wacalvo3@autonoma.edu.co or guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

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