Is Politics Becoming
a Spectator Sport?
our youthful dreams we fantasized about taking our activities to the ultimate level. Then life’s
clock of reality struck twelve and first base returned to being the sewer lid, centerfield, the adjoining neighbor’s
yard; a microphone, a hairbrush; a basketball court, a driveway; an ice rink, a swimming pool; and the stage, a foot locker.
We were then reduced to being spectators as surrogates performed our deeds in stadia, theatres, convention centers
and virtual arenas.
Other walks of life were impacted as well as Boy
Scout medals didn’t transmogrify into Silver Stars; the captain of the safety patrol, the Chief of Police, and the prettiest
girl in school became just another ordinary made up face on the way to a job. Enter the surrogates again
as their purview expanded into a keystroke, warp speed, gigabyte, abbreviation laden, "reality TV", marketing poll
driven, and spin doctored hidden world.
Who are these surrogates that
control our lives? They are Super PACs, pundits, talking heads, agenda driven journalists, and comedians; the visible standard
bearers for the uber wealthy and power brokers. Yes, a “funny thing” happened to a guy that didn’t know
who to vote for. A few chuckles later he did. To say that comedians are responsible
for the state of the world, is and of itself is laughable, but they are definitely in the mix of opinion shapers. As critical
junctions occur in a campaign ---- send in the clowns and sometimes these jokers appear serious. When is the last time you
heard someone express an original thought? Instead it’s “did you hear what (insert name here) said last night?”
“On the (insert program name) show, they took apart the (insert issue here).”
A digression: In days of yore when there were kingdoms on every shore, a gluttonous monarch
(kings are always obese in Hollywood portrayal and we know how historically correct the entertainment industry is) sits at
a banquet table before his minions as a heavily sauced leg of lamb in his bejeweled hand drips onto his velvet robe. The assemblage
is there to address raising more taxes ---- the cost of velvet is rising and pillaging has been down for three successive
quarters (too easy; so you can “go there” with the recession joke).
court jester after a cartwheeling entrance stands before the rotund one to begin the precursor to the contemporary monologue.
“Did you hear about the captain of the guard yelling at the royal lancers, get out of those bunks and put your clothes
back on? I said we were being invaded by ravishing hordes. HORDES!” (Instant Messenger protocol states
that you use upper case and exclamation marks to emphasize a point that may be obscure or needs affirmation.) After a yawning
belching admonishing stare from the king, the jester continues, “Loosen up Majesty, besides there’s no room for
my head on that full platter of yours.”
Back on point in
the virtual arena where a vote is the price of admission, while a miniscule percent of the “one percenters” sit
in luxury boxes and enjoy the perquisites of their stature as their duly chosen sycophants through verbal legerdemain and
statistical prestidigitation attempt to deliver bought and paid for results. Mythical “Everyman” waits for the
crumbs of inclusion. “Joe the Plumber”, no! Have you seen the cost of plumbing? He has plumber’s butt because
he is weighted down with cash and mooning you as he pads his time driven invoice.
The legitimate “Everyman” repeatedly counts his change from
squeezed currency and the end that is exposed is the one that is getting farther and farther from reach. Others stand outside
the virtual arena, disenfranchised ----- no vote, no entry, no hope.
We are better educated than any time in history. Yet, we let others decide what
is best for us while we gaze hypnotically, texting away ---- as anthropologists wonder if the opposable thumb was really genetic
Instead of filling full coffers, help
someone with gas money or transportation to find a job or get to the polls. Learn the issues and the ramifications. Talk about
the issues as you solve community problems. It doesn’t have to be a “bridge to nowhere”; it could be repairing
a step for the elderly, monitoring children to safely walk home from deteriorating schools, building a swing in a gang infested
playground as the baggy subfusc scourge is reminded that there are people united and who care.
Take it to the bank, wherever there
is a crowd of people doing constructive things and discussing issues ---- the politicians will find you and assist you in
gaining admission into the virtual arena.
The 1% can outspend the 99% but they CANNOT OUTVOTE them.
Richard e Hill www.rehillbooks.com firstname.lastname@example.org