Politics as Theater
My daughter-in-law recently posted the video at the very bottom of this post on her Facebook page, which surprised me – but shouldn’t have. She is a thoughtful person who supported Progressive Bernie Sanders in his bid for the Democratic nomination, and she justifiably felt betrayed and outraged when Hillary Clinton conspired with the media to engineer him out of her way in a move that would have made Richard Nixon beam with pride. Then to try to bring the disaffected back into the herd, Hillary confidently assured them that her pick for VP was a True Progressive, which I was surprised didn’t make her nose grow to yardstick proportions. To ensure her success, the press understandably avoided checking this claim or bringing up any contradictions it presented.
What caught my attention in the first wave of protests in DC and in Portlandia was that virtually none of the protesters who managed to get themselves arrested answered affirmatively when asked if they had voted in the presidential election. They were protesting the outcome of it, presumably by breaking the law in some manner, but had not supported their candidate with their vote. Apparently, the only way to make the world better is to avoid the democratic process entirely, and instead take to the streets to trash the closest Starbucks. This is now applying even to actions in the Senate – don’t act to oppose, but rather refuse to participate at all. Kind of like what the Republicans did a few years ago, except they stuck with accepted procedures of mule-headed obstruction. Now, your legislators get paid for doing nothing which, now that I think of it, may be good. As Will Rogers once quipped, “This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer,” and “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.” These days, that last one is more debatable. What we’re getting is political theater, which reminds me…
What troubles me is not the video just below, a DC protester at the inauguration who carefully makes sure that the press’ camera is on her before she begins to act out her angst. This kind of stuff is quite common. After all, the goal is to publicize one’s viewpoint. It’s just that a lot of what was done and said would not have occurred unless a camera was rolling. I find that to be more Theatrics than heartfelt Protest. See what you think, but be ready to kick down your volume setting a little.
The interview with this same woman, below, points out the oddity that Hillary herself created toward the end of the DNC, namely to capitalize on the ongoing media efforts to moralize her campaign and lift it to a sky-will-fall fervency. She pointed to anyone with the temerity to consider voting for her opponent as a morally corrupt and reprehensible “deplorable”, which I consider to be pretty gutsy considering her personal conduct and her own view of “the 99 percent”, whose votes she depended on. It all became a Good vs Evil choice rather than a promotion of a smarter way to get the same goals accomplished, an oddity which plagues both the major media and a sizable segment of self-described Democrats today. Now you can’t just “prove” things by dwelling on one troubled person, but her ways of thinking about “her world” are quite common these days. What follows is how she thinks – have you heard this before? Do you still hear it today? The guy who handles my meager IRA warned me before the election that if Trump won, I’d better be prepared for the markets (and my IRA) to take a big dive. Gloom and doom. The end of the world. Dominoes. Just the opposite occurred, as I found when he recently made his quarterly call to me. It’s up 7% – and this from a bubble that has long been overdue to burst/correct. It will eventually, of course, but despite the dire predictions of the experts in the press who were fervently hoping to affect your decision back then, the stock markets rose more than a little on election day and relentlessly continued to do so afterward. Listen to how this interviewee perceives things, then ask yourself how she might have gotten to this state. Just how insulated has she made herself from people holding different viewpoints than her own?
But none of the above surprised me, since the press makes sure we’re swimming in it every day. Here’s what did surprise me, and it did so because, as worded, the following video has a distinctive ring of truth to it. I think it’s vital for each of us to develop and to hold beliefs, and to live true to them. That’s the core of personal integrity, and it can be a tough go at times. That is different than holding to beliefs and working to coerce others to live by them – nay, to think by them – especially when it involves abolishing or “readjusting” personal freedoms guaranteed at our nation’s founding in order to address “modern concerns”. That’s called something else, and is deeper than establishing and enforcing behaviors, which is called “legislation” – you know, like it’s illegal now to embezzle money, rob people or assault them, things like that. There will (and should) always be some tension with legislation, the historical alternatives being vigilantes or brownshirts. But it’s better to deal with the difficulties presented by troubling facts than to clear them all away in order to push a simplified ideology. That process is called “propagandize”, and one of its more effective ploys is to distract from your own sins by loudly accusing your opponent of them. It’s an old tactic that still works great. As the woman above points out, if you are unable to see both sides of an issue before you pick one side, you probably don’t understand it. An effective Republic depends upon understanding, priorities and dialogue, not upon assigning and excoriating Libtards or Misogynist Racist Islamophobes. Releasing therapeutic hatred may feel great if you have personal issues, but it’s no substitute for getting a bigger picture. In my experience, nothing has been as simple as I often like to think. That makes decisionmaking difficult at times, and that’s the way it should be.