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.
Interesting video (the last one) & I can see the truth of it. I do have a different view.
It’s all about distraction.
We argue about this & that, little things actually and the big bucks keep flowing into the same general pockets.
President Eisenhower warned us in 1960 about the military-industrial complex, they won.
Look at the last 54 years and see where the money went. It has not mattered who sat in the Oval Office, the big dollars have not slowed down.
Kennedy refused to involve us in a land war with Cuba in ’62, in ’64 his replacement jumped right into Viet Nam. The Asian/Africa wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, 2000-present) have been financed with borrowed money. The finance corporations were given well over $700 billion to cover their gambling debts by Pres Bush, the payments continued under Pres Obama. In 2010 corporations were ‘given’ civil rights by the Supreme Court (Citizens United).
We are still spending big money on wars in Asia.
The players in the military-industrial complex has grown & changed over the years, just look at who the Dow-Jones Industrial is these days…but the money keeps flowing to the corporations.
Distractions. It’s important to keep everyone distracted from what’s going on behind the curtain.
I agree, Rob, myself having gone from “Isn’t that a bit paranoid?” as a young adult to “Uh-oh, we are in deep trouble” after simply observing the patterns of various events over the years. Obama proved that, apart from issuing an unprecedented wave of Executive Orders to bypass citizen control, whoever sits in the seat hasn’t altered that troubling course, but further cements it.
I think that the relative transparency of Clinton’s “pay to play” schemes as Secretary of State, and her lining up “investors” and foreign interests such as George Soros who expects something in return for her anticipated win helped illuminate the true state of affairs in the U.S. It’s not just about the influences of domestic weapons manufacturers any more. It’s a nightmarish broadening of the “Global Village” concept originally used to promote the political acceptability of chasing cheap labor wherever it may be found, damn the ultimate cost to the citizens of the U.S. Corporations and financiers are not required to stick around and live through the results of what they do here. They will just move on to greener pastures once the “consumer economy” here has gone comatose.
“National interests” are the reasons given for meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, but it certainly seems more likely that our own young are fodder for pursuing short-term corporate interests. Many/most of the terrorists that we so decry today were bankrolled and armed by us in order to overthrow governments and install “more cooperative” leaders, be they genocidal tyrants or glorified warlords. Didn’t matter, as long as they didn’t interfere with our “National Interests”.
As the book Blowback and its later sequels point out, the United States is more the bully in the village than the World’s Policeman. When the documentary Clinton Cash came out, the worst that Time Magazine could say about its anti-Clinton alarm was “The individual facts are largely true and based on widely reported events and public documents. The conclusions, however, are not as cut-and-dried as the film makes them out to be when assembled together. In general, the film’s reasoning is that if one thing followed another, it was a case of cause-and-effect.” The same thing could be said of witnesses slated to testify at a gangster’s trial disappearing one after another, the reasoning being that each was merely random violence rather than legal proof. When a pattern of actions and results is established, I don’t think you need to be tin-hat paranoid to suspect that something shady is going on behind the scenes. That’s one reason I find ideology so dangerous. It removes objectivity and makes people subservient to larger forces that have their own unrelated goals. Distractions? Yes.
Re your comment that nothing is as simple as you like to think: I feel ya. The older I get, and more I learn, the more aware I become of the complex nature of politics and most other areas of human interaction. (Sociology major, lol.) For me, it’s humbling. I am cautioned to think more than twice when I think I know something, to take the time to look deeper and to let things percolate in my brain for a bit. I don’t always succeed at this. Sometimes my impatience makes me say stupid things anyway. I think that scares me most, the knee- jerk reactions of people who seem to be coming to conclusions based on emotional reactions to something they heard. They don’t always take time to check their sources, much less consider all aspects of a given event. I know I sound judgemental, and I guess I am. I have an expectation that if you’re going to voice an opinion, you ought to make sure it is your own opinion, and not something you gulped down and spewed back out. Okay, rant over.
Well expressed, Dawn. I think there’s a yawning gap between being judgemental and being frustrated by shallow thought or a depth of consideration no greater than regurgitated political slogans. This is for you:
Love it. 🙂