One must ask… is there some end game here? What resolve is even possible? Is it even remotely possible that pols and pundits will ever again consistently do, or say, “what’s right;” even when it’s not best for them? I think there may never be a more appropriate time to decide this than right now.
’Promised land,’ when it comes to America, has always been more a talking point than anything else, except for the select, favored few. ‘Promised land’ for the slaves stuffed into the holds of wooden ships, some of whom were tossed overboard if they found they were carrying too much weight? Yet if you look into their discussions at the time a lot of the heated debates used sources, like the bible, or the Constitution, at least attempting to make it all seem rational and logical. Even the insults were more intelligent sometimes. These days; in a fast moving, texting, tweeting world, ‘talking points’ have been boiled down to little more than mind numbing simplistic framing, and framing using bully tactics: otherwise known as ‘name calling.’
This is why we are where we are today. Simplistic false framing is one of the bigger reasons why some of the worst politicians win: pols who should have had no chance at all. It’s why marginally better ones lose and significantly better ones have less of a chance of than Custer if all his men had vanished when the natives arrived. And it’s also why people feel so comfortable sinking into the current deep cesspool of pure partisan idiocy…
”I like Trump because he pisses off liberals.”
”OK, Trump didn’t say it, but it sure sounds like something he’d say.”
Here, from two different sides of the aisle, may be good indications of a great political sickness. Claiming someone said what they didn’t say for political gain is wrong, no matter how convenient the target may be. It should be actionable slander in some cases. It certainly should qualify as libel, though politics and politicians fall under more loose standards.
Simplistic, name calling-like framing would mean Winston Smith wouldn’t need a memory hole anymore to do his job, all Big Brother would have to do would be yell, “FAKE NEWS!!!!” Firemen need not burn books, just claim they’re “phony,” etc. If some framers had their way Guy Montag would have had no books to be burn.
We give our pols and their handlers too much leeway sometimes; especially when it’s all too politically convenient to do so, and none when it’s inconvenient. Over the years I have been politically active increasingly they violate one of the most important lessons my father ever taught me: “Do what’s right, even if it’s not right for you.”
What’s so wrong? Well, campaigning through a whisper campaign, push poll questions that claim someone had an illegitimate black baby comes to mind. So does taking what a candidate said: calling half of a movement filled with ‘deplorables,’ and turning it into “all.” Certainly using E-mails to Weiner to smear a candidate without mentioning the content of a single one, then admitting there was nothing there once the damage is done. Dismissed a document, not because what’s in it isn’t accurate, or has been changed, but because it’s a copy of the original. The only thing different between the original and the copy is the font; and even the secretary who handled the original says they’re the same when it comes to content. Using a present tense statement as if it had been said using the past tense as an excuse for impeachment because in the past tense that would make that answer perjury.
A few years ago I confronted a friend who claimed Al Gore said he “invented the internet.” Being from Tennessee I knew better. When confronted with facts he admitted it wasn’t true. He just thought it was ‘funny’ and liked to say it because it ‘pissed off liberals.’ Yes: and ‘because’ of this kind of nonsense we have little actual valid social discourse these days. You wonder why discussions these days end up being no more than yell and accusation-fests? BINGO. Coming up with the bigger, more potent, lies and yelling out the most insults is how to ‘win.’ And it works: because we, the public, let it work. Facebook, tweeting, even our talk shows are dominated by who can come up with the nastiest, most mean spirited, comeback: even if it’s no more than a lie, the kind of insult a mentally incompetent person with anger issues would spew.
Politics these days is more akin to the schoolyard bully whose idea of “funny” is committing verbal, even physical, assault.
Simply because someone pisses off people you don’t like is no rational, logical or even mature reason to support anyone.
Simply because you don’t like a politician or pundit is not a good enough reason to support lies.
In the 60s the right accused young leftists of having knee jerk opinions: mindless, emotional, responses lacking depth of thought. What exactly is giving full blown support to someone simply because they piss off someone you don’t like? What exactly is spreading lies about someone with little thought regarding truth, fairness and the damage ends justifies the means behavior does?
If you think such to be unfair when used against your side you can be damn sure it’s still unfair when used against others. If you claim it’s just the ‘other side,’ or “they started it:” you’re part of the problem and getting in the way of solutions.
You know someone’s trying to infect social discourse with simplistic nonsense when they say…
“What the… (left/right) REALLY wants is…
”What the… (left’s/right’s) REAL goal here is…”
One must ask… what is the end game here? Is it even remotely possible that we will ever see a trend towards increasing numbers of pols and pundits doing, or saying, “what’s right” even if it’s not best for them? Ends justifies the means politics has led the nation down a very dark and dangerous path. We can argue which side does it more, or which side started it, but all that is no more than playground politics. There can be no logical end game that doesn’t lead to the worst kinds of societies humanity has ever screw itself up with, leaving a formerly, somewhat, free nation, permanently “boned.”
Sometimes it gets so surreal I wonder if Rod Serling would have rejected a script this absurd.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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