It's so easy for rich white guys not to vote when they're not the ones bearing the effects.
Being a 41-year-old liberal means shaking your fist in lots of directions. One of those is toward the younger, idealistic you. Reporting from the lee side of mid-life, I can tell you one of the many things that 40 is is watching people identify with a young, long-hair revolutionary inveighing against the system while finding myself sympathizing with the staid grey-beard sitting across from him trying to balance a look of bemusement and pity:
That 38-year-old youngster is Russell Brand and the old bemused guy is BBC's Jeremy Paxman on the receiving end of yet another media-elite Branding. Bemusement not by Brand's diagnosis, of course, as Mr. Paxman assured, a content-free State Of The World address that might be new to younger ears. No, it's always in the prescription that upstart Che Gs overplay for want of a solution.
Russell Brand: Yeah, no, I don't vote... I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity. Alternate means, alternate political systems.
Jeremy Paxman: They being?
Russell Brand: Well, I've not invented it yet, Jeremy.
Take your time there, Russell. Meanwhile, women and minorities and elderly are fending off the Republican class of 2010 thanks to the Left not doing what you're proud not to do.
"I am not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class!" Well, Brand should be happy to know that people on the left are years ahead of him. Democrats, it seems, don't turn out for midterm elections the way old Republicans do. And that's how we wound up with a Republican House in 2010 along with a host of Republican governors and state senators who are not just taking away women's rights but are also disbanding democracy with voter ID laws and securing their seats by gerrymandering their districts. So he's right: Thanks to lefties' lack of voting, whether by apathy or by anger, voting is indeed becoming less and less effective each election cycle. His "don't vote" doctrine isn't just unoriginal, it's not just a lazy phenomenon that he's turning into a cause célèbre, it's a self-fulfilling threat to the civilized world that the grown-ups have spent eons building.
"But I say, but here's the thing you shouldn't do. Shouldn't destroy the planet, shouldn't create massive economic disparity, shouldn't ignore the needs of the people."
Bravo! Well, the people who enjoy doing those things get to do more of that AND they shut down the government. See, revolution is really not that hard when you engage in that sham called democracy while left-leaning firebrands stay home and shun "paradigms."
I used to have long, curly hair. I campaigned for the Green Party in 2000. I wish I still had the Ward Sutton cartoon from that time that depicted us as Linus expecting the Great Pumpkin to save us from the evil system, as Lucy, Peppermint Patty and Franklin entreat him to consider what his fuck-it-all idealism would do to women, gays, blacks; respectively. Don't get me wrong: I support third parties and I agree that the entire system from our elections to economic justice needs to be overhauled. Ralph Nader was right, and he was right to run and I was right to help him. But if 2000 me tried to tell 2013 me that there isn't any difference between the two parties, I'd hold him down and cut off his golden locks. Russell Brand's childish philippics fired at stodgy media folk through clenched pearly grins, arms flailing in sexy, open-button blouses... I'm sorry, what were we talking about?
Ohhhh, right. The coming revolution. Brand predicts, without "a flicker of doubt," that revolution is near and inevitable. Son, you have to forgive us old-timers but we're laughing at you.
There will be no revolution. There will be NO revolution. Grow up.
I am old compared to him. I was in the street protesting police brutality, Bill Clinton's sanctions against Iraq, the Bush Regime's Crusades while Brand was beginning his comedy career. That's why he lives in a mansion and I don't. It's also why I and so many people have heard this Nicholas Fehn routine. When a word that means the world coming from a Tunisian street vendor comes out of a rich, white comedian's mouth, it just makes one shake one's fist.
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