Workin’ the Swingshift

May 16, 2012 at 5:00 am

I was listening to “On Point” the other day on NPR.

This was my first mistake. Since I’m not always bright enough to take note of Tom Ashbrook’s rhetorical dog and pony show, in which he leads his guests and listeners around by the nose, I find myself engaged from time to time.

The topic of the day was — gasp — gay marriage. And I’ll be damned, America’s first black president publicly announced that he’s in favor of permitting homosexual grown-ups to lock themselves into a spiritually binding contract that only God or a team of expensive lawyers may put asunder. It’s significant, important and right for him to say it out loud, especially in light of the indefatigable intolerance of the right who have no trouble flying “Don’t Tread on Me” banners over Wall Street but who have neither the conceptual capability nor the humanity to extend the sentiment into the homes of actual Americans.

That said, you’ll pardon my glib perspective (I was born this way), but everything everything everything that happens for the next six months is electioneering. Of course the president “has reached a position” that favors gay marriage. That it “just happened” to be announced immediately preceding the news cycle in which Mitt Romney was alleged to have been a homophobe jock bully at Ye Olde Douchebagge Prep School for Pricks seems transparent, redundant, a zero sum gain, and it leads me to my point.

Who are the fabled “swing voters” that the entire political cultural mechanism of American Mediocracy will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to court in the coming wasteful and odious months while the rest of us drown in the fetid waters of the media deluge? I don’t think it’s my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. And in spite of some Internet articles I read (on sites that also included breaking news like “Robot Prostitutes Could Replace Humans by 2050”) suggesting that African-American parishioners are sure to jump ship because of the president’s position, I think Romney’s going to have a tough time securing the black vote. Call it a hunch.

Likewise, to think that social conservatives, who have been nervously chewing their bottom lip over their shit-bird nominee, are now in lock step with the party as a result of the president’s announcement is ludicrous and totally irrelevant. He’s their only guy!

So, has anybody ever actually seen a swing voter? What do they look like? Do they prefer pleated slacks or flat-front trousers? Iceberg or romaine? Are they waiting till the last minute to see if Obama will finally sprout a Vladimir Lenin goatee and a forked tongue? Are they just holding out a little longer in case Mitt Romney goofs and says, through a toothy grin, “Funny thing happened the other day. I was driving my wife’s gold-plated Jaguar on my way to shut down a day-care center for the abominable children of gay auto workers and I ran over this long-haired girly man …”

While I am openly suspicious about the median IQ of the American electorate, not to mention the folks they sometimes elect, I have not previously been under the impression that there are a bunch of folks running around saying, “Well, I’ve been pretty indifferent. I was going to write in Yosemite Sam on my ballot come November, but I guess since Obama’s cool with homosexuals now …”

And lo, there was “Andy” from Iowa on Tom Ashbrook’s program. While he doesn’t think the gay marriage issue will make much of a difference in the presidential race, he’s determined to vote for Obama as a result of his stance: “Until yesterday I was pretty ambivalent between Romney and Obama. I was probably leaning towards Obama, but I wasn’t ready to say I was going to vote for him, and I was probably just going to write someone in or leave it blank.”

“Common sense there from Iowa,” Ashbrook intoned calmly. Common sense, Tom? Jesus Christo, it’s madness!

When I’m ambivalent about Barack Obama, it’s because I was hoping he’d govern more from the Nobel Laureate side of the ledger and less from the hawkish warmonger side; and I’m as ambivalent about Mitt fucking Romney as I am about having someone place a earwig on my pillow.

To Andy from Iowa and any other swingers: Way to draw a line in the sand, pal.