Last night as I was waiting for the main debate to air, and then watching it unfold, it occurred to me that much of the divisiveness in this country is because of the way that politics and politicians are portrayed. Our entire system is corrupt, right up to the way information is delivered to us, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. We voted every last one of them into office. Even the ones that were gerrymandered to get the current results.
It’s like that old meme goes
“Every time there is a major decision on an issue, the news reports go something like: ‘The Democrats scored a major political victory today.’ Or ‘The Republicans soundly defeated the Democrats today.’ Well, screw the Democrats and the Republicans. The real question that needs to be asked when the dust settles each and every time is: Did the American people win or lose today?”
Even this sentiment is about winning or losing. Not about how we can make everything better for the greater good.
We are treating our political process like a “reality” show or, perhaps more accurately, sports teams and sporting events. I even tweeted last night that I felt that I was watching the introduction to Spartacus rather than the GOP debates. It was like big time wrestling. It’s become a circus and we have become the spectators. They are the players and we, the people, are getting played. Sad thing is, we dealt our own hand. And by we, I mean not only the current population, but our ancestors before us. It took us a long while to make this mess. Which begs the question: what will we be leaving to the generations ahead?
Like teams or gangs our politicians have designated colors: The Reds versus The Blues. The language that is used annihilate, decimate, crushes, kills, eviscerates, destroys… Really? How does that help us? Is this the only way we can get each other’s attention or, sadly, approval?
And we, the voters, have been reduced to taking “sides” as spectators do, often with the assumption that all of “them” are bad and all of “them” all believe the same things and act the same way. So much hate and divisiveness has been stirred up through the bought and paid for media, that we have been reduced to (at best) barking at each other. And, has been prominently displayed, actually killing each other.
And the debate itself. Declaring winners of a conversation? How does one “win” a conversation? The candidates are merely stating their opinions, often not even answering the questions asked. And only occasionally is a fact actually uttered. The candidates lie, with a straight face, and the moderators and the other candidates rarely correct them or take them to task. Too often the voting public doesn’t either.
During the debate, the candidates are so disrespectful of each other, the process, the moderators and thusly, the voting public. And this has become the norm, the socially acceptable way to treat each other. We treat each other with disrespect, with intent to deceive, harm or kill. How did we get this far off track?
When we’ve all killed each other (and our planet), who will the powerful oppress and enslave? How did we get to be so gullible and submissive? When did we start to allow our media to feed us lies? When did we stop questioning and standing up for our own best interests and simply go home and lament to friends and family?
It bothers me a great deal that there is only one candidate that consistently discusses what will work for the greater good and how they intend to achieve their ideas and goals. It bothers me that so many people don’t have the curiosity to determine if what they are seeing and hearing is the truth. And with the internet and google at our fingertips, that’s really easy to do these days.
Of course, there are many online publications and blogs that purport to be a bonafide news and information source so one has to have even more curiosity to determine if the information they have found is truth or fiction. In other words, they have to check more than one reliable source.
Divide and conquer, defined as “the policy of maintaining control over one’s subordinates by encouraging dissent between them” is the oldest trick in the book. And we have been tricked but good. We have become a nation of idiots. Too many of us are willfully ignorant and too many others want to put their heads in the sand and look the other way because they want to live in a little pink bubble where they pretend that this isn’t going on, even though they know that it is. And getting worse.
As William Rivers Pitt at Truth-Out put it, last night’s debate was a fear festival punctuated by the willingness of the candidates to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent children. And Ben Carson answered: “You got it.”
If Bernie Sanders doesn’t get elected it will be the American people that lose. Again.