Just a quickie for today.
Americans used to be deeply suspicious of their political leaders. Nobody trusted them. They were the butt of jokes. They were literal piss pots (somebody back then figured out that bed pans with political leaders painted on them sold well). Americans were like Diogenes to Alexander: “get out of my sun.” They weren’t wanted, and if we had to have them we preferred them to be as far from us as possible.
But these days, politicians are celebrities in their own right. They are rockstars. This happened with Obama, but it also happened with Bill Clinton, with Sarah Palin, and now with Donald Trump also. It was pointed out to me earlier that JFK inspired a similar amount of almost religious devotion.
People chant their chosen figure’s name. They clap, wave, and defend their candidate from attack. What, says the Communist, you don’t like Bernie Sanders? You must hate the poor! Talking bad about Hillary is rampant misogyny! If you criticize Ted Cruz, you’re angering God (what does He have to do with politicians, I wonder?). Don’t criticize Trump, they’ll say, because he will make America great again! Hope & Change, they chant. They sloganeer and wave tiny little flags. Balloons surround podiums, dressed and lit like celebrity stages.
All this, for a political class Americans ought to be very cautious about.
No one running is “my” candidate, and I don’t think anyone ever will be. If one of these politicians came to me and said “Dystopic, what do you want me to give you?” I would reply, as Diogenes did “I want you to get out of my sun and go away.”
A friend of mine quoted Fiddler on the Roof: “God bless and keep the Czar… far away from us.” As politicians become rockstars, my distaste for them only grows greater. And as our leaders become more Czar-like, I want them further away from my life.
I’m not excited when the President comes to my city, I’m annoyed and irritated. They will close the roads for him, and traffic will be that much worse. There will be security, and protests, and demonstrations, and the local media will blather on about him. It is inconvenient to have that business in my life. So even when he deigns to grace the peasantry with his presence, such is a bane, not a boon.
I’m not saying that you don’t choose one. We deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. Make your choice as you will. But don’t be under any illusions that any of these people are trustworthy, great people whom we should admire and devote ourselves to.