In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the Supreme Court's campaign finance decision, the gun control debate and the inevitable #CancelBanter hashtag.
1. This is probably a rhetorical question but do you think anything can be done at this point about billionaires and wealthy interests buying elections? The Supreme Court just seems to keep piling up decisions that ensure American politics are just another commodity. I'm not sure there's any hope for us now.
Ben: Generally speaking, I think it's too hard to make solid predictions when it comes to society and the way humans govern themselves. I mean, who would have thought the civil rights movement was going to happen in the 1940's? Who foresaw the French Revolution in the 1760's? It looks grim in America today - the Supreme Court decision was a horrendous violation of what it means to have a functioning democracy and it's very hard to see a way back. The political system is now so corrupt that it can't really be called a political system any more. It's fast resembling a sick soap opera acted out by untalented actors, grossly overpaid by their corporate overlords, all of whom have no direction other than the naked pursuit of power. There are still parts of it that function, but give it another decade of this type of corruption, and there won't be much left that has anything to do with representing the general public.
Chez: I hate to say it, but no, I really don't think there's anything left that we can really do. The highest court in the land has now sanctioned buying elections, saying essentially that money talks and that it should be granted the same protections as speech in our country. It's an almost unfathomable violation of the spirit of the laws that prevent plutocrats from enforcing their will on the country. You got a good answer, other than armed revolution? I'm all ears.
Bob: Anything's possible. In my more hopeful moments, I recognize the pendulous nature of politics. Things can always swing the other way. But for now the only hope is for some unforeseen X-factor to slow the tide of money into politics.
2. How do you write about shootings like the one at Fort Hood? When it's happened so often, how do you find a new way to approach it and to voice the anger you might feel about it?
Chez: It's tough precisely because I feel like I really have said everything I can say about this kind of violence. I thought I'd seen it all -- that my mass shooting pieces had become Mad Libs where you just insert a new place and couple of different specifics -- and then Sandy Hook happened. That devastated me in ways I still can't properly describe. And in the wake of that, with so little changing when it comes to guns and the gun culture in our country, I feel like I've just given up. If that couldn't shake some sense into us as a nation, another shooting at Fort Hood certainly won't. Obviously there are details about what happened at Fort Hood this week that make it stand out, but the fact remains that we seem to be a country that falls back on gun violence as a method of expressing rage, resentment, revenge, personal suffering and so on. I think it's just who we are.
Bob: I'm not so much angry, but exasperated by a sense of utter futility. No one really wants to talk about it and the pro-gun lobby is so off the rails with facile bumper-sticker nonsense, there's simply no adults in the room for even a compromise. I don't know what needs to happen for that to change. Two shootings at an Army base; the near-assassination of a member of Congress; and the slaughter of children and school teachers -- and yet gun sales are hitting record numbers, while gun control supporters have checked out. Sad.
Ben: Honestly, I kind of gave up after Sandy Hook. The political will isn't there to do anything, and I think gun rights are simply too ingrained in the nation's psyche for anything meaningful to happen. Look, if the cold blooded murder of 20 small children with a semi automatic rifle doesn't change anything, nothing will. It's fucking tragic. Liberals/anti gun advocates can try as hard as they want, but it's almost completely pointless. The recent shooting at Fort Hood was a terrible tragedy, but we should simply brace ourselves for a lot more of this shit.
3. This is just to let you know that I'm starting the hashtag #CancelBanter. I figure your site should be gone by next Tuesday.
-- Puey Sark
Bob: I knew I shouldn't have used "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong" in my post about Colbert using "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong" to satirize Dan Snyder using "Redskins" in the name of his foundation.
Chez: Good. I'll have more time in my schedule to do white people things.
Ben: Is that my ex again?