I made the mistake of turning on CNN this morning. The two top stories were The Weiner Affair and the Congressional fight over the debt ceiling. What a circus! This is what passes for news at a time when we are engaged in three overt wars in the embattled Arab world (and who knows how many secret ones); when the economy is still in shambles; and when our public education system is being gutted before our very eyes.
Never mind the fact that Weiner’s indiscretion, from a purely moral point of view, is not nearly as questionable as the numerous affairs that have been admitted to many politicians who did not resign (including a current Republican presidential candidate). Never mind the fact that the real crimes being committed in Congress – the financial ones – are not even being mentioned. And never mind the fact that many of the people and companies who caused the financial crisis are now getting rich all over again while the innocents suffer.
Despite all that, our media and our Congress believe that a few ill-advised Twitter posts and the debt ceiling are our most pressing concerns. It’s like someone comes home to find that their house has been leveled by a tornado, but instead of worrying about how they are going to feed and find shelter for their family, they fuss about how to pay the credit card bill that is due in two weeks. And then they freak out about an offensive joke that their brother-in-law just posted on Facebook. Indeed, it has become one big circus.
When I was kid, back before animal rights was even a consideration, the circus was the most exciting event that came to town. There was so much to see and enjoy – the elephants and tigers, the acrobats and trapeze artists, the clowns and the funnel cakes. When that big tent went up next to the Civic Center, we all knew that we were in for a once-a-year treat.
Well – now, that the 2012 election is finally getting into gear, we are all preparing for the once-every-four-years political bonanza that will put the current media spectacles to shame. First, we’ll have a knock-down drag-out for the Republican nomination that promises to be bloody and unpredictable. Then, we’ll have the general election, where the attacks on Obama and his “socialism” will make 2008 look like, ummm, a tea party.
But before we take our seats to continue enjoying the greatest show on earth, please consider this: It’s been fun, but it’s time for the circus to leave town. There’s a reason that the real circus only stays in one place for a few days at a time. In reality, it’s a noisy, smelly, unsightful mess – and we’re always grateful when we’ve had our fill, and it moves on to the next city.
When it comes to politics and the media coverage of politics, the American people have had enough of the circus, too. No more tricks and illusions. No more annoying donkeys and bloated elephants who only seem to stink up the place. No more clowns who only play to the audience and ignore the real issues. It’s time to send all three rings, and the media that encourages them, packing.
I think we can all agree that it’s time for the circus to go. The only question, is, what does this mean? How do we get our politicians and the media focused on what matters?
A) Throwing out the elephants and the donkeys by supporting a viable third party
B) Reforming the existing parties from within by cultivating better candidates
C) Working to change the electoral system to allow for more viable choices and less corporate influence
D) Working for better media by ignoring the hacks on CNN and reading more blogs like FDL.
E) None of the above. Politics and the media will never change. The solutions will come by changing people’s hearts and minds through other avenues.
F) Who cares? I just want another funnel cake.