So, where were we? Here we are, a nation with most of the population stuck in pretense and avoidance and lying. Time to get real.
America has pretty much become like some sort of very large dysfunctional family, carrying on some act of happy smiling pretense with lots of chatter about trivia avoiding real things of substance, except for some bursts of angry squabbling about petty nothings or imagined nonsense, and if anybody actually speaks about the reality of anything, they’ll turn on them as if they’re the only problem (you know, The Troublemaker).
The big TV performance debate of VP Biden and Rep. Ryan is now history. I didn’t watch this; file this under “life’s too short”. I did briefly flip on the TV and there it was, as the proceedings at the moment were apparently on arguing about who would be the best choice for President of the United States to control events and nations on the other side of the world.
I didn’t stick around, but apparently Matt Taibbi did, and it’s interesting to read his summary of the event. At least in this show, the vice president called bullshit on Ryan’s usual routine of, well, bullshit, and moderating host Martha Radditz did her job as a journalist, as opposed to an empty talking head, and did not let bullshit pass as acceptable.
I flipped on the television later and on C-Span, which had shown the event, had some pair of characters I didn’t recognize sitting there doing soe post-game show, babbling about what voters would think of the debate if they were watching it with the sound turned off.
This would, in a sane world, obviously be a joke, but that very kind of thing turns up on CNN, and probably elsewhere, I suspect.
Candidate Romney continues the endless mendacity, and Steve Beren’s project of tracking Romney’s continuous and blatant dishonesty is now up to installment #38.
Romney’s dog and pony show is such a blatant and massive and obvious program of lying and shapeshifting to pander to the moment and audience that The Onion had finally jumped on this, in satire that really just creates a bit of satirical fiction that’s indistinguishable from Romney and campaign as appears in the news every day.
It’s just bizarre that it can even be possible that there is anybody who could possibly think that Romney is suitable as a possible president.
Reading around the web, I came across a piece on the CNN website by Frida Ghitis, a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review and former CNN producer/correspondent, Can Romney and Obama tell the truth — and win?, which perfectly follows up what I was writing about in my last note. It’s almost as if it was written to be a companion piece to my little blog note.
To make things even stranger, take a look at some of the political game chatter. Since people have been pointing out the obvious, that candidate Romney made appearances of scoring points in the big TV show by just lying his ass off throughout, a particular theme has come up in the talking head bullshit sessions on television. This had taken the form of some sort of discussion describing what some people are calling “the ‘liar’ strategy”, and absurd arguing about merit or flaw of “calling Romney a liar”, in terms of whether or not this is good political strategy. This is bizarre, and a pretty stark indicator of things, when the Republican party’s candidate for election as president being a chronic, blatant, pathological liar isn’t seen as a problem, but rather, people act like pointing out that he’s a chronic blatant liar is the problem in the situation.
It seems more and more apparent that fewer and fewer people in America today are operating in touch with the domain of reality when it comes to the realm of public issues in general, and their government. The Ghitis piece was specifically about the crazy level of dysfunction in politics affecting governance in America, and the dysfunction of the citizenry that both allows it, and feeds it.
Incidentally, taking a peek at Fox News for a sample now and then following the big VP show is interesting, though nauseating, to see the twists and turns as the Roger Ailes operation is apparently in full reality warp mode.
We’ve always been at war with Eastasia!
And, as this rolls on, there’s the same problem surrounding all this; any attempt to get into any of this subject area triggers some sort of Pavlovian reflex reactions from people programmed like robots who respond with something like “oh, you leftist liberals with your liberal media and your precious Obama”, or something pretty close to that. It’s the reflex programming of people so zombified, so programmed and indoctrinated and cast under some ugly spell of “Us versus Them”, that anything and anybody appearing to not be part of their cult is clearly one of those terrible Them, some member of the bipolar opposite of The Others.
I’ve written about all that so many times before, it’s awfully repetitive. I’m aware of this, and it’s not a symptom of some form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The stuff isn’t getting better as far as I can see; it seems to be getting worse. So I find myself, here in my little space on the interwebs, trying to do what I can to flip the lights on in some dark areas.
A big batch of primary problems come down to a couple of broad subjects, totally dominating America since the end of World War II.
Since the end of that war (the last official war the United States has engaged in, let’s remember), the standard conventional wisdom consensus in American politics and government has been to presume that the natural position of the United States of America is to be a worldwide military empire ruling the world.
Along with that has been a kind of paradigm of assuming that happiness, even just plain normality, is from perpetual economic growth based on fossil fuels.
All of that is way past due for serious rethinking, has been for a long time.
Our problems are less about not being able to figure out answers as much as mass avoidance of asking the right questions.
It’s not a new phenomenon for American politics, of course, to be a circus of absurdity. Listening to political type creatures speak has often been a demonstration of people playing games of being, shall we say, carefully selective about what they focus on and what they ignore to make themselves or their club of political organization look good and some others look bad, and even conducting transactions in the currency of plain bullshit. It would be naïve and just simply ignorant of history to think ottherwise. That doesn’t mean it’s all the same, and it has always been all the same.
By its nature, the stuff has always been a popularity contest, and as a result a certain kind of superficial stupidity and specious argument has run through the whole circus, sometimes worse than others.
In our present moment circumstances, a lot of our problems of avoidance and general ignorance and confusion come from not just the realm of political sports contests, but in failing to understand how much is not really a political matter. A lot of nonsense comes down to being major absurdity, like, to make this ridiculously absurd to make the point, if people didn’t like the weather, and argued about who is the right guy to have in elected office to fix all that.
We get lots of nonsense when things turn to the general broad subject of “Energy”. We get a variety of political chatter that have differing positions loaded with pretense about a matter of physical reality treated as if it’s not a matter of physical reality, but only a question of having what somebody asserts as the right government policy. Arguments ensue about what that correct government policy might be, and in the realm of American politics today, actual reality hardly enters the picture. The proceedings are dominated by different forms of pandering and avoidance and often just plain delusion, to appeal to people who might hear something addressing things as they actually are, and react badly. They might get news they don’t like, and so they demand something different, something they will like. Don’t dare tell people something that might suggest necessity of them changing their plans and routines.
So politicians tend to either carefully avoid difficult subjects, or just lie outright.
We have had political leaders frankly tell the truth that people need to know (rather than what they think people want to hear). I’ve mentioned a couple examples before that are worth repeating.
President Dwight Eisenhower spoke to the American people in one of his last acts on the way out of the White House, warning them about the hazards of squandering the money and resources of the nation in misdirected notions of military empire, and what he named “the military-industrial complex”. Over the past half century since then, that has mostly been ignored.
During his term in the late seventies, after the rate of daily oil extraction in the US had peaked around 1970 and gone into diminishing returns decline, after a few years had passed to provide enough data to make this apparent, after the infamous 1973 OPEC Arab oil embargo, President Carter spoke to the American people about the limits and depletion of finite resources of hydrocarbon fuels, and our overconsumption, and the urgent need to change our activities and plans accordingly. He was mocked and ignored, and that continues in some quarters of political idiocy today, despite more and more evidence making it more and more obvious in the decades since that he was right and speaking simple rational realistic sense.
A mentally incoherent retired mediocre actor came into office as president following Carter, went bonkers in the military empire spending department, ignored anything that suggested there were physical limits that applied, and people adored him and today there are all kinds of people who revere this kind of mythological version of Reagan. Among other things, as I have pointed out before, we have the stunning absurdity of people holding up a diefied mythical version of Ronald Reagan as the model leader of “fiscal conservatism” when over the course of his two terms as president, the accumulated debt of the United States federal government tripled.
So, here we are, as a president who has avoided squarely facing some urgent matters faces an election challenge to be president from a man whose entire modus operandi consists of just blatantly lying, almost continuously, with the lies and pandering virtually from day to day, sometimes even contradictory lying within the same public appearance event.
We’re in a giant car heading for a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit