Monday, October 10, 2016

Political Theater

Abraham Lincoln Photo next to stephen Douglas photo

Political Theater

10/1/2016 Justin Arn

It has been said that, in that order to understand the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, one would need the reading comprehension level of a 12th grader.

One hundred years later Kennedy and Nixon apparently sparred off at an8th grade level.  

By the time George W Bush and Al Gore went toe to toe, a sixth grader could comprehend all of the dialogue. 

The verdict is not yet out on what level of education would be necessary to fully grasp the Clinton-Trump debates of 2016. But I don't think I am going out on a limb to say that we've reached a fresh new low...

A Facebook friend of mine made the following observation:

"These debates are theater, only. Nothing of substance is covered because the American electorate has been conditioned to accept sensationalism over substance. Bombasticism is the name of the game and the issues have been sidelined. I know I've been quite open in my dislike of Hillary Clinton, as anyone contemptuous of the political ruling class should be, but I should also say that I find it distressing that our country has degenerated to the point where a figure such as Trump may receive such a high level of support.

It's time to seriously reconsider our electoral system and to point out the obvious flaws created by popular elections. Democracy inevitably fails when elected officials can change the rules to their favor. That failure becomes a catastrophe when an unelected, clandestine minority is given control of those elected officials.

I'd like to think that our system of government will get better, but I don't believe it's possible anymore. Our country has been riding a political seesaw since George H. W. Bush took office, becoming increasingly polarized on the surface. In truth, though, each side has been utilizing the increased central control to further the agenda of a very few, who care little who's actually elected into office.

That all said, Clinton is emblematic of the corrupt, bought, elite political class and I'd like to echo the sentiments of Barack Obama Presidential Campaign when he was running against her in 2008 in saying she's not qualified to be president
- CB

I cannot help but agree and if you've read my earlier post regarding voting as an act of complicity, then you know where I stand on the matter.

Interestingly the very first question of the last debate asked whether or not the candidates thought that they presented a good example to the students who would be asked by educators to watch the debates, a quite normal civics-minded homework assignment in this day and age.

Photographs of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
I'm guessing 4th grade... ?

The question focused on the 'parental guidance,' aspect of the debates and how the candidates related to one another.  Another pertinent question might be, "Why should any high school student understand much of what is being debated in the first place." Why are our policies and politics so infantile that any school-child should be expected to understand them?

The answer, I think, was summed up in my friend's very first sentence.

These Debates are Theater, only.


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