The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
WASHINGTON, D.C. – If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
A cool front passed through the nation’s capital overnight, making it extremely comfortable in the campground. It is easy to be lazy and not want to care about the ridiculously shallow coverage of the presidential election of 2016, except that so much is at stake. So let me get the coffee going and weigh in.
Since no one with a Facebook or Twitter account or cable TeeVee seems to care about reality, however, why should we?
If this is what passes for journalism in the 21st century and people are content to promote it by sharing it as news coverage, maybe Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States?
Nah. Not a chance in Hades.
Armed with a new High Definition broadcast antenna from Radio Shack, I have tried to start watching local news and news on National Public Television again. But sometimes it is just more interesting to switch to one of the old TV channels and watch Andy Griffith running Mayberry as sheriff. It makes more sense.
The one bright spot in the media world is that Matt Taibbi is back on the National Affairs Desk for Rolling Stone on the campaign trail with the Republican Clown Car, almost making me want to make the trek to Iowa and New Hampshire myself. This looks like fun.
In a perverse way, Trump has restored a more pure democracy to this process. He’s taken the Beltway thinkfluencers out of the game and turned the presidency into a pure high-school-style popularity contest conducted entirely in the media. Everything we do is a consumer choice now, from picking our shoes to an online streaming platform to a presidential nominee.
The irony, of course, is that when America finally wrested control of the political process from the backroom oligarchs, the very first place where we spent our newfound freedom and power was on the campaign of the world’s most unapologetic asshole. It may not seem funny now, because it’s happening to us, but centuries from this moment, people will laugh in wonder.
America is ceasing to be a nation, and turning into a giant television show. And this Republican race is our first and most brutal casting call.
The problem is the Democrats are no match for this craziness, not even the Bernie Sanders as socialist-Democrat tour. And as predicted, the economy is starting to tank again. Oh well. Does anybody really care?
In another piece, Taibbi says:
“People are tired of rules and tired of having to pay lip service to decorum. They want to stop having to watch what they say and think and just get “crazy,” as Thomas Friedman would put it.
Trump’s campaign is giving people permission to do just that. It’s hard to say this word in conjunction with such a sexually unappealing person, but his message is a powerful aphrodisiac. Fuck everything, fuck everyone. Fuck immigrants and fuck their filthy lice-ridden kids. And fuck you if you don’t like me saying so.
Those of us who think polls and primaries and debates are any match for that are pretty naive. America has been trending stupid for a long time. Now the stupid wants out of its cage, and Trump is urging it on. There are a lot of ways this can go wrong, no matter who wins in 2016.”
Somehow the ancients on public television keep hanging on as if anyone was watching. But try getting a job in Washington practicing real journalism. Most online news outfits want to hire children who can crank out a Twitter headline faster than a speeding bullet can hit a cop, or vice versa. Most American television is full of cop shows now anyway. Are people really paying attention? Apparently not.
If people really don’t care, we may as well turn American public affairs over to reality television.
Count me in. I will jump on the clown car in a heartbeat for $50,000 a year. I can quote Donald Trump all day long as well as anybody else. I’ll get on the stinking bus and ride it all the way to hell if that’s where the lawyers, unions and environmentalists want us to go.
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that women can’t elect Hillary all by themselves.
If you want a better government and a more intelligent press, someone is going to have to pay for it.
Come on, Jefferson. Let’s go for a hike.
© 2015, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.