Rafa\’s Corner of Nonsense, Part Deux

… where Rafa\’s thoughts see the light of day…

Political fanatics are idiots… or morons, I haven’t yet decided…

I think people who are rabidly rooting for any politician are idiots. Ok, maybe not idiots… perhaps morons. Yeah, that’s better. I’m going with “morons,” people: deal with it.

I shall elucidate. 🙂 Unless you are the candidate himself (or herself, don’t get your knickers in a twist, ladies), you were sired by the candidate, you are the lifelong spouse of the candidate, or are somehow related by blood to the candidate, there is simply no way that you could be so sure that the person isn’t some conniving scuzzbucket that isn’t lying through his teeth about everything he says, and is secretly scheming to take over the world while stroking a cat all day in his hidden evil lair?

Actually, you could even argue that if you’re related or married to the candidate you’re definitely sure that he’s a lying scuzzbucket (like that time he told you your cat Miffy had gone to a farm in the country when in reality it had been in-grained in an 18-wheeler’s tires, or like that time he told you he was working late in the office when in reality he was doing lines of coke off of the ass of a Brazilian hooker he met in Cabo).

How could people that have never met the candidate adore him so much, how can they be so sure he’s the one who’s gonna save the nation from foreign attacks and fix the economy and create jobs and make kittens crap gold and turn the Grand Canyon into a flowing river of milk and honey and convert the Everglades into a sugarplum forest full of gumdrops and candycanes? Maybe I’m just a cynic (yeah, right, “maybe”)… but how can you be so sure of any of that if you personally don’t know the guy? Or even if you do personally know the guy? Or even if you are the guy? (I mean, it’s real easy to over-estimate one’s own abilities as a creator of a sugarplum forest).

What is your own take on this topic? Is over-zealous fanatism for a political candidate reasonable? [Note that if you say it is, I will think you are a moron: you have been warned!]

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October 24, 2004 - Posted by | Rant

3 Comments »

  1. Do my eyes deceive me? Rafa is talking about politics? Holy shit, so that’s why it rained today. Anyway…

    Well, you know my passion with politics, and that I’m somehow irrational about the subject, specially on Puerto Rican politics, but I’ll try to be academic here.

    There are various factors involved on the fanatism towards a political candidate. Usually the issues for which the candidate’s party stands are the determining factor. A classic example would be Puerto Rico, where the forces are divided among the Pro-Statehood, Pro-Commonwealth and Pro-Independence forces. In the United States is more about liberals against conservatives. So, usually it is just a matter of each candidate to advertise himself as a champion of some particular causes, and if he has a track record on the issue, better. People that feel strongly (dare I say, are fanatized?) to certain causes, as soon as they see a candidate that stands for what they want, pretty much transfer the fanatism towards the issue to the candidate himself, specially when the opponent is clearly opposed to the candidate’s stance. (This is specially the case in religious issues, such as abortion, gay rights and stem cell research.)

    Of course there are special cases where the candidate has charisma; the proverbial “je ne sais quoi”. The candidate is basically a Rock Star,he knows how to work the crowds and people just *love* the man. Classic example would be Bill Clinton, I mean, people loved him, and still do, no matter what, and I really mean no matter what… 😉 Another example would be Puerto Rico’s former Governor,Pedro Rossello in the 1996 campaign (his charisma is certainly gone this time around), when he just annhilated his opponent, and his party just rode his wave to total domination of the election, solely thanks to him. The man just knew how to work the crowds (Macarena anyone?). Another more unfortunate example would be Adolf Hitler, who Germans blindly and fanatically followed on World War II. Other examples would be Kennedy, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The subject of the charismatic leader is still not fully understood in political sciences, and there are a variety of factors involved, including exceptional communication skills, an uncanny skill of manipulating people’s emotions, and even sexual attractiveness are part of the equation.

    On this particular election in the US, there are no charismatic leaders involved, it is more of an issues election, and both parties right now stand for very different issues and values. At least one of the candidates is openly playing the religious card, and as I said, this is an issue where the religious fanatism can be easily transferred to the candidate. Bottom line for this election: members of both parties really dislike the stance on issues and values of the other side, and this has transformed into rabid support to their party’s candidate.

    Comment by Cesar | October 25, 2004 | Reply

  2. Hey César… I knew this topic would bring you back into my blog’s clutches (muhahahahaha!). 😉 And, for the record, the reason it rained was because you agreed to have Italian food: so there! 😀

    Anyhoo, I wouldn’t call your passion for Puerto Rican politics “irrational”: believe me, I’ve seen much worse. I’d describe it more as a “creepily morbid fascination.” 🙂

    Well, on to the subject at hand! In your post you say: “The subject of the charismatic leader is still not fully understood in political sciences.” Allow me to be the Font of Illumination, the Bringer of Elucidation, the Source of Knowledge, the Capitalizer of Nouns, and explain fully why this phenomenon happens. It happens, my dear friend, because some people are morons. M-O-R-O-N-S. I wish it were more complicated than that, but unfortunately, it’s not!

    Any rational person should see that no one deserves such fanatical adoration, and that, indeed, being fanatical about something or someone already makes you a moron about it. Being fanatical (about a cause, an ideal, or a person) means precisely that logic is abandoned, that reason will never enter into the equation, and that the fanatic is doomed to being, in the end, a moron.

    By the way, when I say “fanatic” I mean it in the actual sense of the word: someone who just likes someone’s music or likes a particular author is not necessarily a “fanatic” about it in the strict sense of the word, although the word “fan” is bandied about quite often. When I say “fanatic” I mean those people that will never admit their ideal (or candidate, in this case) is wrong, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence, someone that thinks there are no alternatives and that this ideal or person should be followed to the very bowels of Hell (if this sounds like an exaggeration, go to any political rally and listen to the people speak, and you’ll see I’m actually being rather forgiving!) 🙂

    Comment by Rafa | October 26, 2004 | Reply

  3. Rafa, When are you running for office?

    -Jon

    Comment by Anonymous | December 1, 2004 | Reply


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