Here we are in the midst of another political season, and I have to admit I just don’t get it.
We’ve been at this game now for 225 years or so, and this is the best we can do? Let’s face it. Our vaunted two-party system really is doing it right this time. Here we are, trying to kick off a new millennium. But what have we got to show for it? A choice [again] between two guys nobody wants, forcing us to pick the one we dislike least to have any chance of relevance at all in the selection process?
How long have we listened to the talking heads blabber on about how bad our schools have become. When are they going to start looking at the dumbing down of our political system?
It’s not like our Founding Fathers planned it this way.
We started strong enough. Heck, George Washington was so widely admired they wanted to make him king. Good thing Martha knew how to put him in his place, or we’d all be on our knees today.
Then again, maybe we are. Because the powers behind the throne have convinced us to pay homage to the real royalty of today – Lord Buck, the Almighty Dollar. Otherwise, why would we be so impressed by two guys who promise to give us back a little more of our hard-earned dollars, while running around passing it out like flower girls at a wedding?
To top it off, they have the audacity to act like they’re doing us a favor. Some favor.
There they stand, in our faces day in and day out throughout the entire election season, railing about how bad the other one is and talking on all sides of issues they pretty much agree on anyway. To add insult to injury, they think we buy it.
Take Iraq, for instance. King George stands firmly behind his troops as they try to put down an insurgent host. Way behind, probably 5,000 miles or more. Those in his camp conveniently lose count of the body bags so long as they aren’t filled on this side of the ocean.
Prince John, on the other hand, tries to usurp power by crying about how we were duped into a conflict he won’t commit to end. I think he mumbled something about preserving our credibility. And of course, his supporters pretend not to notice he wasn’t opposed to a little muscle-flexing when it started, particularly when the polls showed the rest of us wanted to do a little friendly butt-kicking. And now that we’re tiring of this game, he wants to change dealers without shuffling the deck.
But I sure can’t blame either one. They’re only doing what we pay them to do – stand up there and wave to the cameras, driveling little sound-bites that their media friends dutifully dole out every hour on the hour.
To boot, the political hacks that put them there hate each other so much they can’t wait to stick knives in each others’ backs or poison their drinks. As if there were more than a hair’s difference between them. Lucretia Borgia would be proud.
They’ve put so much effort into spinning their yarns that they’re starting to believe their own rhetoric. Worse, they think we do, too. And maybe we are. Or at least pretend we do, so we don’t have to face the truth.
What a fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into this time.
It’s not just the war. Nor is it an economy on the brink, where free enterprise means moving jobs offshore so they can afford to charge us the prices we want to pay for stuff we don’t need.
No, it’s much more than that. It’s our great American Dream that’s at stake. The one to which we all cling when we give these so-called leaders blanket authority to run rampant around the world. And ignore the real problems in favor of the window-dressing that gets them elected.
And what do we do about it? We hold our nose at the stink coming from the rotting system we’ve allowed to be put in place, and look winsomely for a place with some fresh air to breathe.
All the while we they keep playing their high-stakes poker games for our future. Where the deck is stacked in favor of one side or the other, trading seats periodically so we can delude ourselves that the system is working. In return, they get to pass the scepter back and forth while we play musical chairs, hoping that we’re not the ones left standing when the music stops. Hiding behind a smokescreen of tradition that we pretend continues to serve us.
Someday, someone will wake up to see that it’s not the Emperor without the clothes. It’s us. But even then, we won’t have to worry. We’ll just have them blow the smoke a little higher. Then again, I don’t know how much higher it can go.
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