Women Flee, and White Men Can’t Think

A modest proposal to end electile dysfunction
By David Heitfield

My secret high-school crush was a beautiful, intelligent woman who was way out of my league. She was my little red-haired girl (although blond), so I couldn’t actually talk to her; we would flirt by ringing the landline phone once to let the other know s/he was being thought about, and the occasional anonymous prank phone call. As soon as she got the chance, she got the hell out of Ohio.
Times have not changed.
Attractive, intelligent women do not think about riches, or landing the man of their dreams; they simply think about getting out of Ohio. All the time. When they get up, when they go to sleep, when they eat, when they poop, when they make love. The few who manage to stick around, usually because they have a family or they’ve lobotomized themselves with alcohol or religion, still dream about leaving Ohio and berate themselves for never doing so.
And the latest Quinnipiac University poll gives good evidence that while the weather might be cited as the reason our women want to leave, the real reason is that Ohio men are the most self-absorbed idiots on the planet. How else to explain the overwhelming desire of Ohio men (63 percent to 30 percent) to send President George W. Bush’s former budget director to the U.S. Senate, all in the name of “change”?
“It would seem that Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher’s best shot at victory might be finding a way to stop men from voting,” opined Peter Brown, polling assistant director.
I’d take it further: The only way to save democracy, our economy, our country is to stop white men from voting. Let ’em spit and scream and scratch their nuts on the radio and cable news and in the bars. Just don’t let them near a voting booth.
Now, I have many white male friends, being one myself; even so, I must admit that, as a group, Ohio white males are incapable of complex thinking outside sports or the occasional stray thought, “I wonder if that penis enlargement pill really works.”
And while taking away their right to vote is probably not feasible, at least until China takes over in 30 years or so, we could tweak the voting process itself in a way that will promote true democracy, decentralize the two-party system, and confuse the poor Ohio white male in a way that he’ll need a pill just to have an Election.
But first we need to understand the source of the problem, and for that I’ll turn to the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who understood the basis of white-male thought better than anyone.
Life is paradox and uncertainty, stupid
First, let’s acknowledge that any attempt to encapsulate Kierkegaard in a few paragraphs is itself banality. But when the argument is to take away the white male’s voting power – and you’re probably one of three people reading this in a newspaper you bought to help some homeless person – it’s best not to take ourselves too seriously here.
For Kierkegaard, the essence of human life is anxiety, and the fully realized life courageously embraces this fact. Any attempt to “let go” or relieve oneself of such angst is cowardly and always results in self-deception and despair.
Anxiety comes from the existential angst resulting from a self that is a synthesis of elements that will always remain in opposition to each other: the human vs. the “natural” realm, self-assertion vs. relating to others, finite vs. infinite, subjective vs. objective, necessity vs. possibility, temporal vs. eternal. The anxiety of human life only goes away when one ceases to be a complete person – basically through death, insanity or self-deception.
In his seminal work, Either/Or, Kierkegaard presents two distinct ways of living: The first is that of the romantic idealist, and the response is from the “ethicist” (a Christian judge) who argues for an enlightened ethical life. Many college students who read the work mistakenly see it as a progression – that is, that the “ethical” life is a higher state of being than the romantic non-conformist.
Kierkegaard actually preferred a third option – his infamous “leap of faith” – but of the two, he was clearly partial to the former, because the romantic at least tried to make life “interesting.” For all his reasoned sense of social obligation, the ethicist merely turns his life into an abortion. (See Limbaugh, Rush.)
For our purposes, Kierkegaard saw the basis of white male thinking – bourgeois life – as personification of the Hegelian dialectic: That is, all conflicts that are the paradox of human life should be synthesized and “resolved” for some “greater good.” Since Kierkegaard believed such synthesis to be impossible, the white-male way of thinking is nothing more than cowardly self-deception.
Easy money, easy life, easy religion, finding the path of least resistance – all come at the price of one’s humanity. You gain a little peace, you go to sleep thinking you are always right, and you lose your integrity in the process.
And that’s how the white men of Ohio end up sending George W. Bush’s budget director to the U.S. Senate. The results of the Quinnipiac poll are filled with hysterically self-deceptive paradox: 37 percent of voters say they are angry at the federal government; and of those, 81 percent support sending George W. Bush’s former budget director back to Washington. Forty-five percent of Ohio voters say the economy is getting worse, and so 79 percent of those voters favor sending George W. Bush’s former budget director back to Washington.
Home on the range
Range voting is the best answer I know. Both major parties hate it, and for good reason: It invites paradox and uncertainty into the results. Third-party candidates would actually have a chance to gain power and influence.
Pollsters would hate it, moneyed interests on both sides would hate it. No longer would the Democratic Party run on the “We suck less than they do” platform. Political ads couldn’t just attack one candidate, but would have to attack several; and in doing so, negative ads would be much less effective.
Studies have shown that the real winners in range voting are the voters themselves: They come out of the voting booth with a much greater sense of satisfaction.
It’s so simple, and it so reflects our own vox populi culture that the only reason this isn’t getting more press and acceptance is that it scares the hell out of the established order.
Instead of voting for a single candidate, you vote for each candidate based on a “range” of scores, say, 1-10. For example, say you have Bush, Clinton and Nader running for president. You like Nader, but you don’t want to “throw your vote away” by voting for him, thus helping Bush. With range voting, no problem: Give Nader a 10, since you like him best; give Clinton a 6, since you like him better than Bush; and give Bush a 1, since you think he sucks. Instead of making a “false” choice based on some self-deceptive resolution for the “greater good,” you vote in accord with how you feel about each candidate. You have an authentic vote, rather than a cowardly vote.
Cincinnati has a history of trying to change the voting system, given its brief try at proportional representation in the 1950s and subsequent attempts to put proportional representation on the ballot. There is good evidence that range voting is superior to proportional representation and would appeal to a wider political spectrum of voters.
For more information, you can go to RangeVoting.org. I’d also recommend an interesting read from William Poundstone, Gaming the Vote, although I believe it might be out of print now, even though it only came out two years ago.
At the very least, maybe angry voters who hate the federal government and think the economy sucks will evaluate their vote a little more closely before sending George W. Bush’s budget director back to Washington. And maybe, just maybe, we can keep some of those intelligent, attractive women in Ohio. Until January, anyway.