Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Joke Is On Us

You’ve heard the old joke dozens of times before, probably even saw it on a bumper sticker: “Don’t vote, you’ll just encourage them.”

I’ve hit a point where it isn’t funny anymore.

I watch cable news and listen to news talk radio, both liberal and conservative, and for the most part both sides are sorely lacking anything resembling integrity or scruples. The twenty-four hours news channels use the round-the-clock programming dilemma as an excuse for spending excess amount of time covering celebrity scandals and sensationalist tabloid dramas as the unfold, yet they still deliver the important news in two-minute capsules and spend the bulk of their time interviewing people with opinions about the news instead of reporting actual facts or consequences.

I won’t try and say that I’m dead center of the road politically. It’s painful enough when Bill O’Reilly claims to be moderate, so I won’t echo that lie. I do tend to swing more to the left than to the right, a tendency I attribute to not being rich or ignorant enough to believe or want to believe most of the bullshit the right is constantly trying to sell. And if you are a conservative that takes offense to that, suck it up and let it slide. If you identify enough with your party to take offense, then you’ve got bigger problems to deal with than name calling.

Besides, the Liberals don’t exactly have monopoly truth and honesty. The majority of Democrats are just as rich, white, and male as the Republicans, the only real difference is which lies they are telling while the behind-the-scenes deals and promise making are taking place.

What’s funny is that both sides spend most of their time screaming from the rooftops how their side is as pure as the driven snow, and simultaneously insisting that the other side is the very definition of corruption. The Hard Right Wingers want you to believe that Bush is ten times a better President than Clinton ever was, while the Hard Left Wingers want you to believe that Bill doesn’t lose integrity points for being dumb enough to bang an intern and not expect it to go public. Neither side is willing to admit its own mistakes or give credit to the other side when credit is due.

We don’t have political parties anymore. We have political cults, followed religiously by slavish devotees who think nothing of slandering and/or destroying any and all who dare disagree with the One True Way. Debate and conversation has given way cruel name-calling, destructive yellow journalism, and pointless chest-thumping over hollow virtues and standards that will be the only thing left when rotten, worm-eaten timbers holding up this decrepit shell of what was once a great nation finally collapses in on itself like a poorly designed sand-castle.

Just had to get that off my chest. Its been that kind of week.

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