In these fascist times, I propose that the media collude with one another to attack a single issue on a unified front. Let’s see a White House press briefing wherein every member of the press pool asks Sean Spicer the same question, or some variation thereof. The issue of the President’s tax returns would be a good start, but the issue du jour is really not as relevant as the pressure of accountability. If the President of the United States breaches decorum for the highest office in the land, is the media not allowed to follow suit? Is an aggressive, perhaps even caustic, counter force to White House spin considered an attack on the President…or is it a patriotic tribute to the Presidency?
At 57 I’m no Spring chicken, no grandpa either. But I’ve been around long enough to not recall a more petulant President of these United States. Yes, Nixon was paranoid…but he didn’t wear that paranoia on his sleeve. Yes, Ronnie was asleep (or debilitated) for most of his tenure…but he never revealed that until the waning years of his second term. Conversely, with Trump we have a man who’s readily displayed a lack of maturity since Day 1. The only thing more astonishing than his wanton petulance is his brazen bluster. For many, many Americans, Trump’s ability to mask his low self-esteem, shallow vocabulary and elementary cognition with bombastic rhetoric is “just what this country needs.” And therein lies the rub.
I don’t know from whence came this nation’s divide, but it’s palpable…and it seems it’s here to stay. Personally, I think the internet is to blame. It put the kibosh on congressional handshakes, as backroom deals became instant fodder for political rivals….essentially killing compromise and solidifying the partition down the aisle. Regardless of how or why our political system became so polarizing, it has manifest itself into a dangerous game of “fervor trumps facts.” Dangerous? Yes. Whenever both sides of an issue are obscured by emotion, rational thought takes a back seat. And when rational thought becomes subordinate to amplification, people forego pragmatism. That’s dangerous.
Case in point: Election 2016. Let’s be honest, no one likes Hillary. She may be a brilliant and tireless worker for the people, but she’s got a ton of baggage; people don’t trust her…she’s a “Clinton” and she’s flat-out unlikeable. Let’s be honest again, Trump’s an idiot. He may be a successful developer, but he’s not very intelligent; he acts like a child…and he makes Larry Flint look classy. (For all of its greatness, America sure does keep its leadership inventory to a minimum.) We know how Hillary got here; the DNC propped her up at Bernie’s expense. How Trump got here is the question that has baffled us for over a year now. He’s offended every sect of society, sans the white nationalists….and he was the human punchline of the entire democratic process. Did I say, Trump? Make that Donald J. Trump, President of these United States of America…or as I like to call it: Amplification. This is the result of political shouting matches. This is what happens when rational thought yields to inflammatory rhetoric. America’s political process was deemed to be broken and a glorified carnival barker convinced a large portion of voters that a disgusting change was better than no change.
If, ladies and gentlemen, the penance for our voter booth indifference is submitting to a half-cocked POTUS, a tragically comical White House cabinet, a runaway congress, and a Supreme Court that will make our grandchildren rightfully resent us…so be it. If we are powerless for a minimum of 2 years…so be it. The people have revved their trucks, waved their flags and screamed over our pleas for societal evolution and global enlightenment. They’ll have none of it. We read; therefore they resent us.
And so we, the elite “comprehensionists” turn to you, the media. Will you stand up to buffoonery in the highest office? Or will you dutifully respect the protocol set before you? Will you tacitly affirm deflection and proceed to your follow-up question…segue onto your next segment and leave accountability dangling in the void? Will you confront a false narrative emanating from the podium, or will you address it more comfortably at day’s end? Are you willing to skirt the law in pursuit of those that skirt the law? Will you offer the highest bounty for verifiable information? Are you willing to coalesce with your brethren in order to quell the rise of fascism…or will you continue to rival one another in the quest for ratings superiority?