After spending the last couple days buried in National Review, Huffington Post, Slate, and a host of other nonsensical outlets of information, I feel the need to take a shower. I even went so far as to cause a Twitter battle with a couple of established commentators. Now that especially made me question myself.
(And by the way, if you’re a conservative born before 1965….claiming that you’re NOT obsessed with Ronald Reagan like he was the second coming of Christ is an argument you will always lose.)
But what did I learn in this process?
Absolutely nothing worth knowing. I learned that American political discourse is disgusting, cynical, and pathetic process. And NO ONE comes out looking good.
Now you’re probably thinking to yourself: “You just now noticed this?”. And I think that question warrants an answer.
When I was a teenager, I was OBSESSED with politics. And being in a Bible-thumping Christian, private-school…you can probably venture to guess which side I found myself on. I wrote letter to my favorite governors, George W. Bush, and a number of other conservatives because they were my heroes. I even attempted (and nearly succeeded) to start a Young Republicans group in my county. Go ahead and laugh.
Of course, when I started college, I drifted leftward and got caught up in the Obama Revolution. Yet in my mid-twenties, I somewhat returned to a libertarian-like perspective. And I’m not going to lie, it sort of felt good to watch Hillary Clinton lose this past election. Yet, following politics got tiresome. I remember getting into online arguments where I literally felt sick afterwords. After the 2016 election, I swore to myself that I would never pay attention to politics again.
I was going to just be a casual observer…occasionally dropping in from time to time…but never fully immersing myself.
That is until yesterday.
Have you ever had a momentary lapse of judgement and fell back into your old, bad habits? Did it make you feel like a piece of shit? That’s how I feel today.
This is, of course, a philosophy blog. And I tend to it daily. So when one immerses oneself into the rigorous study of philosophy…normal things that people do start to look crazy. And it’s because being in constant engagement with philosophy causes you to question EVERYTHING. Plus, once when you realize you know NOTHING, the world becomes a bigger place and you start to feel kinda dumb.
So mainstream politics start to look idiotic, because you see people using arguments and “facts” improperly. And it all just ends up sounding like empty rhetoric. It doesn’t matter which side you agree with, they all sound like they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
And deep down, I think everyone knows that mainstream politics is bullshit. Even the people that peddle this crap would agree. If you take Alex Jones, isolate him from everything, and ask him if he truly believes the shit he says… I have no doubt that he would say “no, this is all entertainment.”
That’s what the “masses” don’t realize. Or they are denying it to themselves. When we turn on Fox News, CNN, or whatever the hell is out there…it’s all showbizz. You can hate Glenn Beck all you want, but during his primetime days, that mother fucker was an incredible showman! They all are.
And we all love a good showman. I’m not going to point fingers here, but clearly a certain segment of the population likes showmanship because that’s exactly what we have in the White House!
And for some reason or another, people actually believe that Donald Trump is genuine! I remember seeing a painting of Donald Trump where Jesus Christ was guiding his hand while signing a piece of legislation! What the fuck! I know that most people are over the initial shock of all of this, but I’m not! Holy shit! Just look at the man!
If you saw someone walking down the street that looked and acted like Donald Trump, would you trust that man with ANYTHING?! And yet we elected that guy into the White House!
In fact, EVERY article that talks about Trump should begin and end with: “what the fuck just happened?!”
But look, I’m not the one to point fingers. There was a lot more that I could have done, and I didn’t do any of it. So I share the blame for Donald Trump. Everyday that he remains in the White House, the shittier I feel. Perhaps when all of this is over, and Donald Trump is facing a tribunal for crimes against humanity, I wouldn’t blame any of you if I have to testify for my crime of inaction.
Yet if we can all admit that this was just one major, collective fuck-up… then we can turn this into a learning experience. Of course, one side can say “It was pretty fucking obvious that he was a psychopath”….and yes, it was pretty damn obvious. And you know what? All of us that voted for him or did nothing to stop him, we are ALL fucking idiots. So if a liberal tells you that you were stupid for voting for Trump, they’re right. Learn from it.
Anyways, I keep getting reminded of the infamous Karl Marx quote: “religion is opiate for the masses” (paraphrasing). It’s easy to see the truth behind that. But it’s harder to see that same mechanism in our politics. Religion is rooted in mysticism and, at one time, it served to distract us from the reality in front of us. We like to think our politics are rooted in fact and logic, it’s just that the “other side” is in complete denial about those facts. (Which is why I think it takes a lot of gall for Ben Shapiro to say “facts don’t care about your feelings”) The priest and the preacher no longer hold the sway they once did. Because we’ve replaced the minister with Brietbart, InfoWars, Fox News, Huffington Post, Salon, CNN……