I haven’t watched this much CNN in a long while. Maybe never.
It’s pretty easy to see why. We’re about ten thousand days into this election and I’m yet to see any substantive discussion of policy, what this ongoing uncertainty means to either foreign or domestic policy, or actually any news at all that isn’t The American Election. The coverage mainly consists of some guy tapping a screen, reading numbers, and saying things like “it’s not politics, it’s just math.”
I suppose counting is math. But when those counts get translated into a political result, particularly through the garbed google-translate of The Electoral College- it’s definitely politics.
I also can’t stand the backslapping. America is so fucking proud that its counting votes. Just totally thrilled with itself. Congratulating itself on its patience. But counting votes is to democracy what counting is to math. It’s the most basic shit you can do. And America is doing a horrible job of it. Like, the election has been scheduled for years. A lot of those mail-in ballots should have been counted already. As is, this is all a bit like someone showing up to work drunk and covered in blood and bragging that they were on time.
Meanwhile, they’re twenty minutes late.
There’s something performative about the whole counting thing. And the fucked up thing is that this performance might even be necessary. Maybe we’re at a point when people actually need to be repeatedly reminded for days on end that votes must be counted in a democracy. Depressing to think about that. That can’t be good news. Some shit just needs to be taken for granted. Just so you can do other things.
For my part, I tend to believe that the cogs and wheels of democracy have to run fast and smooth. It has to be like Cesar’s wife – not just innocent but above suspicion. The process should only be noticed when it goes wrong and it being noticed is a pretty good sign that it has gone wrong. Democracy delayed might be democracy denied. The American democracy is broken. It shouldn’t be so hard to vote and counting should never take this long. It shouldn’t even be counted this way. Just elect the president based on the popular vote. There’s already a congress and a senate, there’s no need for an electoral college. But the system is the system. It’s a bullshit system.
For a country allegedly based on the idea that bullshit systems can and should be changed, America sure finds change pretty fucking impossible. Most the time, the discourse doesn’t even want to talk about such “unrealistic” ideas. Pragmatism is too often just avoiding the issue. Social services need to be funded, the cops and the army need to be defunded, guns should be banned, healthcare universal, and the electoral college thrown out. Trump belongs in prison, ICE has to be abolished, and a lot of its employees charged. The whole shit needs a major overhaul.
None of that is impossible.
A lot of it is even pretty fucking popular.
But I would not like to give the impression that I’m sitting around transfixed by the hypnotic spectacle of American collapse. I’m not. CNN is just the background noise while I go about my day. 전 숙제해요. Some part of me even wonders if the country is collapsing, in part, because it makes for better TV. Maybe people just like the show.
Hard to blame them. It’s made counting watchable. Really added some drama to the old 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 . . .
That’s probably a lot of Trump’s appeal. To both the media and the public. He has all the drama of a house on fire. If you can just forget that the house is full of screaming people or convince yourself that they need to burn, he’s solid entertainment. Trump is our national wickerman.
But bullshit like this election? It’s the wood he’s built out of. Just count the votes. And count faster! Fuck’s sake, it’s just counting!
What a mess tho.