Here it comes! DUCK! (Or at least… moose… over!) Arriving on your digital doorstep early; next week’s edition.
I get it. Since the ghosts of LBJ, Lee Atwater and Karl Rove have turned LBJ’s little child meets atom bomb politics into politics via little else but framing: another word for personal insult, our national discourse has become as empty as the graves of those turned into red mist when directly hit by the airplanes on 9/11. I also understand that Karl Rove is still alive, if one can call it that. But one must ask: where is this getting us?
The answer, in part, currently occupies the White House.
Cheap political points aside; like I just made, I must ask are we better off, overall, due to framing politics? Whether you are so much in love with Trump you’d be eager to be first in line for his flavor of Flavor Aid, or hate him so much you feel a kinship with how much Hitler hated the Jews, the answer is still “No.” We learn less than little to nothing about our candidates in the heat of what framing is: wedgies-based politics. How much someone insults someone else does tell us how much of a bully that person might be, far less about how well they throw rhetorical fecal matter. I see no correlation between the more clever insult tossers (using a British definition for “tosser.”) and who does better politically, who becomes the candidate, who wins. I do see a huge correlation between that and who tosses the most. Doesn’t seem to matter if they’re weak, inane, repetitive insults.
Is this really a better way to pick our politicians? I think NOT.
Framing politics reminds me of Karl Rove’s suitcase-worth cards he’d use for “proof” he used to bring to debates as a student: empty, blank; little to no content having anything to do with the crucial issues at hand.
This also reminds me of women in movies. Years ago people used to say if women got into politics we’d have a gentler, more peace-filled world. I would scoff. Damn I hate it sometimes when I’m right. Women in politics has brought no more of a gentle, more peaceful society than women have brought less rock em’, sock em’ violence to movies. They have just joined in the carnage, the punching and what was once verboten: men punching women. Rhetorically or physically.
No, this is beyond gender. It’s beyond reason. It’s beyond the issues we desperately need to address. It reminds me of the old classic Trek episode where they find a planet with people who were televising their version of Roman games. These days, unlike that episode, supposed Christians help lead the rhetorical bloodletting just like they did in the Inquisition.
Having been an entertainer for many years I know often it’s more about show than content. But if anything needs to be more about content it’s our elections. The worst politicians ever to disgrace humanity were more about show than content. Hate the Jews, hate the capitalists, rage-based rhetoric and hyperbolic presentation count for more than content in hate-based politics. Watch a Hitler speech with the sound off, then turn it back on and listen to the cadence, the inflections, how without knowing a word of German you can see how he propelled the hate forth among the people.
I understand how this has led us towards becoming an Idiocracy. From Lincoln/Douglas, to Kennedy/Nixon, to chucking the Women’s League for debates, to 2016 where one candidate stalking another on stage didn’t seem to matter, to last Wednesday’s Democratic debate one can trace how we are devolving as a nation via insults and talking point-filled content.
I understand all too well how the smarter kids are out shined by the envied schoolyard bully who was probably held back at least once, and how that has become more the political standard. Maybe you think that’s great, if you like your politicians behavior to be zoo cage-based. I don’t. And I admit my zoo comparison may be unfair to the animals.
Even monkeys throw less poo.
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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