Monday, January 11, 2016

2016: Will It Go Down As History's Worst Year in Politics, Or The Most Entertaining?

Nine months of backstabbing, lies, hypocrisy, contempt, bad jokes and slander.

In other words, politics as usual. But with Donald Trump and the political Christian Right in the arena, 2016 may be more entertaining than usual.

I've often said that America has made an entertainment out of religion and a religion out of entertainment: take away all of our rights as American citizens, but never, ever even think of taking away our right to be entertained. References to entertainment pervade our daily lives, with politics always being referred to as a circus.

The trouble with political entertainment is that it lessens serious issues, makes them boring in comparison and therefore not worth thinking deeply about: they are reduced to simple platitudes that are digestible to mass consumption: abortion, environment, climate change, marriage equality, immigration, terrorism, gun control are all placed amongst bombast and spectacle, super expenditures on ad campaigns, stellar endorsements and awesome rallies plastered with flags and slogans and logos.

The Real Political Arenas: Twitter and Facebook

Today, what you tweet (and re-tweet) is just as important as what you say in a long-winded political speech. The number of "friends" and "followers" on Facebook are just as important as numbers in the polls. The impact of social media has been used by politicians in the past, but its usage in 2016 will be phenomenally important. Applause and cheering at political rallies may be immediate gratification, but so are "likes" and re-tweets.

The Polarity Of 2016: One Man's Hope Is Another Man's Despair

I tried to look up the phrase, but, to my surprise, I couldn't find it, or who might have said it. 

With the exception of "God's Ambulance Chasers" I'm not good at coining phrases, especially one that should have been coined at least two millennium ago. 

Anyway, the phrase sums up the future year for America. We've not seen such polarity for decades: Right Wing vs Left Wing, "No" vs "Yes", white vs black,  rich vs poor, Red vs Blue and ... Trump vs Hillary. Like some giant oxymoron, America manages to cancel itself out by being pro and anti everything

Of course, there are the "Nones", the "I don't knows," and the "Unaffiliated," but they don't stagnate the American landscape like the polarized. So 2016 may wind up being a massive tug-o-war with nobody winning or losing, but just feeling tired at the end.

Pardon me if, while I wish you all a Happy New Year, I sit this one out.