The Political Debates: Outmoded Entertainment in the 21st Internet/Social Media Century!
Nothing is sadder and more painful than to watch outmoded entertainment that has no particular relevancy to our present times. Example: presumably baseball is our national sport, however, it has a waning attendance that is only equaled by the non-devotional attendees at any local Catholic parish. Sad but true.
Even the presence of the Holy Father Pope Francis, the papal Rock Star brought in to increase the number of attendees has barely succeeded in Latin America where the Evangelical Christian movement co-opts Catholicism in exponential numbers. Similarly, the national political debates, be they Democrats or Republicans, shares the same pallid shoal of religion. It is become increasingly antiquated as the years approach 2016.
Nothing bores American viewers more than tedious, repetitive political catechisms that were pre-digested by political operatives who earn more obscene amounts of money than a honest grade school teacher. Novitiates of persuasion and propaganda [mislabeled as ‘informed insiders’] pick out members of the church of political narcissism, officially labeled ‘politicians and politics’, to create a persona which has no correspondence to reality or truth. Just like religion, politics relies on faith. Faith arises in the hope that some amount of truth can penetrate the armor of deceit worn by candidates when describing their personal history and distorted resume of achievements.This palaver that slobbers all over the Presidential debates assumes an annoying, aggravating boredom which prevents most citizens from learning anything substantive.
So why do we watch the Presidential Debates?
Part of the reason is schadenfreude—our need to quietly enjoy the miseries of someone else. We watch those debates for the same reason that many of us enjoy NASCAR racing. We don’t necessarily count the number of times a driver is ahead as much as we want to anticipate within our quiet, sadistic souls the imminent crash of one or another car traveling at hundreds of miles per hour. Then when the car crashes we can express our deep sorrows and even admit surprise that such a tragedy could happen—when we had been praying all along that it MIGHT happen.
We do not watch the presidential debates to learn anything. The reason we watch is to hope that one or more candidates will make a mistake which will become the butt of every late night comedian; as well as, as allowing us, mortals to deprecate each and every candidate in what is normally called discourse. By the time there is even the possibility of discussing the debates and it’s travesties, the social media engine will have initiated a narrative that over-rides any informal or formal discussion. This far more sophisticated form of propaganda co-opts the possibility for anything that would resemble normal verbal exchanges.
It is not an accident that there are always key words or phrases that are inculcated into our apostates of narcissism, be it about #abortion, #same sex marriage, #immigration, or #terrorism”. The true beliefs of the candidates and their potential to lead can never really be tested accurately in these variety shows labeled as debates. The debates simply provide a scorecard for how many gaffs each candidate makes so citizens can review the next day like any other spectator sport.
Its time we choose our candidates according to the zeitgeist on social media. Let’s end the pretense of truth in fake eyeglasses; disingenuous blabber and stale Hispanic reminisces. As baseball gives way to soccer as the nation’s most popular sport; lets make real time tweets and posts the way to see who’s the best candidate for the irrelevant position of POTUS.
I will end with a quote from the famous American anthropologist, Dr. Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world, indeed its the only thing that ever has.”