“Where walk the men with guns”
Charles Pierce recounts his recent visit to Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago:
Everything is garrisoned today. Everything is insulated the way that electric wires are insulated so that the power doesn’t go anywhere it’s not supposed to go. The country’s political process is encased in technology so as to make it as safe and regular as it can be, so that the people within it can feel comfortable in what they’re doing. It is not a contrivance. If it were, practically anyone would do it, and the Republican presidential primary field — to say nothing of the candidate it produced — is proof enough that that’s not the case. It is, for lack of a better world, a kind of manufactured evolution, politics learning the techniques of distancing itself from the people politics purports to serve in the same way that those people have learned to distance themselves from each other, primarily through the insulating effect of new technology. We have grown accustomed to guns on the street, First Amendment zones, elections as televised design contests or exercises in competing virtual realities. The Obama headquarters is neither a symptom of this, nor is it the cause. It is simply a creature of the country it seeks once again to lead. We live garrisoned lives, so why should our politics be any different? Any energy that cannot be filtered through the buzz of the headquarters is left downstairs, on the outside, behind the toddler gate that stretches across the hallway or, better yet, out on the sidewalk, where walk the men with guns.