The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

Notes on the election -

0. The Republican win was predicted and predictable. Now the infinity
of analysis begins, an infinity that has already missed the point.

1. There is nothing the Democrats might have done 'better.' The country
voted its conscience.

2. Its conscience is founded on a morality-based worldview, which is
rural in origin, and relatively rigid.

3. 9/ll played a critical role, not only in revealing the extreme
vulnerability of the country, but also in the production of an Islamic-
fundamentalist alterity that could not be dismissed.

4. With the religious right, fundamental ontology replaces the episteme.

5. Bush appeared, alive and life-like at the World Trade Center ruins
almost immediately after, conjoining his image with the intensity of

6. The left continuously focused on the negative aspects of the
Republican party, over-determining, at least in print, the violence of
a world-view at odds with the rest of the planet.

7. Absolute morality is not concerned whatsoever with opinion.

8. The right has been organizing, in the US, for at least a century and
a half; this election and the last have been in preparation for decades.

9. In the 60s, which for many of us appears to be a history of the left,
the right quietly embraced both technology and structural compromises
that increased and solidified its power base, in rural and impoverished
areas of the country.

10. A fundamental flaw is the assumption that so-called minority votes
are liberal and leftist; in fact, the opposite is increasingly the case.

11. The 'American dream' is both part of class distinctions, and a
force in their elimination. Don't underrate its influence; no matter
how hard we try, there is no revolutionary class, but only power,
desire, economic status, and diffused and focused oppression.

12. Corporate America is far more diverse and problematic than the left
assumes; it also presents a very real world of almost infinite choice
and identifications. Its collusions and corruptions are our collusions
and corruptions, and have absolutely nothing to do with God and God's

13. Cultural capital in the US is far more important than economic
capital, and its boundaries cut across the latter in terms of class. We
are all white trash and we are all intellectuals and theorists.

14. Far too many judgments are made 'for' rural and so-called back-
water areas, which are almost never heard themselves. The information
discourse networks and religious institutions of the majority of American
voters are concretely effaced by abstraction. The water of baptism is
not H2O.

15. Morality and fear are interwoven; it is the abject stereotyped
image of gays fucking that appears to corrode the 'clean and pure' body
politic. Your marriage wrecks my marriage. It is a failure of the left
not to deal with this; dismissing the violent imaginary out of hand
ensures its force within the political arena.

16. In conservative America, the negation of negation is not dialectical,
but also a return to a rapturous positivity.

17. If one's religion insists that abortion, for example, is murder,
then any means, including murder as literal self-preservation, may be
used in return as a defensive and pre-emptive action. It is not ever a
question of one side listening to another; it is a question of war to
an infinite degree.

18. The church in rural and disenfranchised America is a communal and
cohesive force, one of the few institutions capable of lived-community
and defense against the rest of the world. But more than this, the
church is also the locus for community activity and identity. To dismiss
it, even in its intolerant and sometimes evangelical varieties, is to
miss the point of its existence. For the individual, the church is
salvation, explaining and preserving morality, even forgiving and
abetting the temptations of sin.

19. The church overdetermines the rest of the world; rural and other-
wise isolated communities have a surprisingly low degree of information
flux. The church provides stability in a late-late-capitalist world of
postmodernity, where selves, ideologies, and languages are contested.
Within testament and testimony, there is no contestation; the church,
in other words, 'puts a hedge around the Torah' (Pirke Avot).

20. In my opinion, the image of Kerry hunting (and killing) was not
only hypocritical and distasteful, but also a premature sign of defeat.
However, this had no affect on the election per se, which was already
determined, way back in the late 60s and early 70s, when Billy Graham
created the first automated post-office in the US - a religious
embrace of technology that forecast the future of the country. Perhaps
the left 'created' - i.e. the hacking manifesto - but the religious
right utilized, entrenched, constructed a primary embrace of individual
and instrumental reason that guaranteed the supple application of power
when and where needed. The only real question here is why it took so

21. The left has been hampered by split ideologies and critique; the
right, which permits no critique, has worked constantly with umbrella

22. What has been exposed and contested in the US is often business as
usual in the rest of the world. We are witnessing a movement from
republic to empire, from the primacy of voting, to the primacy of
dominant interests.

23. On a personal level - I have lived in West Virginia, Pennsylvania,
and the Bushlands of Texas and Florida. What happened was no surprise.
I voted early yesterday, and felt a sense of relief at the minor
_punctum_ I experienced. But I had no doubt that Bush would win, that
my voice was primarily personal therapeutic. Instead of despair late
last night/this morning, I've felt that our work, that of an opposition,
has only just begun - that it could only just begin. We have to
recognize, above all, that the US has done the will of the majority;
the more we overlook this, excuse this, theorize this, wonder 'what
went wrong,' the more we are weakened. Perhaps this is a positive sign -
in the sense that the enemy, if it is an enemy, is clear, and no longer
can be dismissed as an aberration.

24. The 'cultural war' is war.

25. Terror is an instrument of war.

26. Religion sublimates terror.

27. I live, you die. Vote or die holds no truck with the faithful.

28. Language is not action. Belief is action. Belief is not language.

29. The explication of fact in Michael Moore is replaced by the
internalization of sin and the body in Mel Gibson. Old Testament, New

30  What the right knows: There is always already closure.


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