The horrors of Democratic politics won't go away whenever "The Trump Show" goes off the air
With Joe Biden poised -- so say the augurers -- to oust Donald Trump from the White House, we might want to entertain some considerations larger than polls and absentee-ballot counts. Considerations such as the normal detritus of elections.
Some preliminary general thoughts follow.
First, the repetitive horrors of democratic politics, unusually intense this year, won't go away whenever "The Trump Show" goes off the air and its cast disperses.
Democratic politics must be the lowest, most painful form of mass entertainment on display since gladiator days in the Colosseum. Certainly, that's so for the practitioners, who can't afford ever to throw the "off" switch and become enviably human. I have maintained for several decades that anyone desirous of running for president is ipso facto berserk and should be clapped in a padded cell for his/her protection, not to mention the public's. Do any names come to mind -- on a nonpartisan basis, naturally?
Democratic politics amount, most of the time, to repetitive struggles for human power. Somebody, some group, wants to do something to or for another group. If they win, they give it a go, and, for a while, make some headway. Then, weariness and disillusion set in all around. It turns out the winners aren't doing enough to satisfy critics, or maybe they're doing it all wrong. The tumult and the shouting grow louder, the partisan warfare fiercer. The right hates the left, and the left hates the right. C'est la vie.
Because modern Americans see history as basically a costume drama featuring oppressors and freedom fighters rather than fellow humans doing the best they can, history's complexities melt together in the fire of media scrutiny, fused and unrecognizable. We miss the continuing themes history tries to show humans grappling with: hope, love, hatred, despair.
Never mind! Da-ta-da! Here comes the political class to the rescue! Wow, have they got plans, programs, ideas, slogans, policy drafts, webinars, T-shirts, op-eds, candidate-approved advertisements!
And you wonder why we don't put presidential aspirants in padded cells? Because they're going to SAVE us, that's why. And we want to be saved through laws and regulations and presidential directives.
That's my first preliminary thought for looking at life post-Nov. 3. My second thought has to do with the realities that accompany political victory as well as defeat.
I hate to use a challenging word such as "realities" -- on which the political class isn't big, preferring words designed to make us feel warm inside, e.g., "promise" and "pledge." "I will, on Day One, do thus and so" is a common assertion from candidates. The voting public has a weakness for campaign rhetoric: the I-will-do and the I-won't-do. All such assertions precede encounters with -- that word, that idea! -- reality.