AmeriCan. RepubliCan’t. DemoCrass behaviour. It’s a campaign-in-the-ass.
On any given day around the world someone somewhere is posing the following question be it on social media or in the privacy of their mind: “What on earth is happening over there and how will it affect me?” From Isis to Putin to the populous at large, it’s a melting pot of molten rot that surfaces to the top to show us, through the distorted mirror of our Global Selfie, the unattractive face of our Inner Selfie. How we use this glimmer of insight about ourselves is as vital and relevant as the vote itself.
At this moment it doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, an American or an American’t because we’re facing this “Shakespearience” together. The outrageous and alarming campaign banter that fascinates us in spite of ourselves may be tantamount to great sex or a Fifa end goal … but with disturbing consequences.
What happens when madness is unleashed onto the maddening crowd with the velocity of unbridled freedom financed by personal wealth – and no accountability? The Third Reich was an example of the worst of crowd-funding. Its currency was the unspoken fear and pain lurking within a devastated post-WWI morale. Now history’s pendulum swings wide yet again, with hints of role reversal that position a now benevolent Germany witnessing the unraveling integrity of its mighty nation across the pond.
When people question how in the world a Trump can be vaulted to such heights their surprise is in itself surprising. The current political climate didn’t birth itself. It has been crafted over decades of corruption, mismanagement, manipulative decisions (sometimes meshed within the best of intentions) all of which now reap their harvest with perfectly exploited timing. No, this is not merely the chimes of a public fed up with political rhetoric. This goes deeper. This is the unfinished business about race relations and gun control and women’s rights and foreign policy and all the “issues” that stand for what we can no longer stand for. This is metastasised anger en masse. This is repressed aggression and sense of futility about that mythic, elusive American Dream – all of which succumb to the complexities of most presidential reigns.
Parents, Presidents, Popes (and other religious leaders) are our closest figureheads to that God we so crave answers from. Our mounting fury at the Political Parent we rely on and with whom most of us have no direct voice nor influence upon, seeps ever deeper, thwarting our hopeful spirits and venting at inevitable alternates; our boss, spouse, sibling, co-worker, kids, friend, baker, computer, pet, stranger, Self. Lucky we have sports and social media to evacuate much of this pent up energy. But not enough. Enter HIM; the face of a raging candidate we’d rather dismiss as crazy than acknowledge as accurately representing aspects of our dark nature. He does indeed speak a truth. Perhaps several. But how, and how much, is the hairline determinant.
The sad reality: as Reality TV it doesn’t get much better than The Trump Show. Sadder still, America is in deep danger of its inability to distinguish between Reality TV and Reality. Come November 8th that reality check might become the new abnormal. Let America be a lesson for us all, the way Germany was under the fury of a Fuhrer. Stopping one eccentric is step one. But stopping multitudes, who await one showman’s vigorous rhythm to unleash their understandable tirade about the unfairness of life, is our true ground zero.
The culprit is neither a Trump nor a Clinton nor any other single individual. It’s not even the Media which spurs him on and then us and then vice versa. The culprit is US. We the people … with a peephole onto our unpleasant shadow side which refuses to hide now given its voice. HE rises to power when WE don’t. He feeds on our unconscious fears, jangling our already tethered nerves into a frenzy we simply can’t (nor frankly want to) ignore. He allows us to evacuate through his bravado, knowing we won’t be sent to a war nor prison for it (for the time being, but what happens if he gets elected?). He goads us into reacting with hopes our reaction will factor favourably in the polls. Will it?
Action. Reaction. What if we could reinvent our reaction? Might that shift the action? A lone terrorist becomes a more looming threat when part of a growing group that gains visibility. Strength in numbers is enhanced by strength in numbers – as in television ratings. If the numbers are high, the story further flies. Bigger tales, bigger sales. Much of the Media taunts us with sensationalism which we eat and they reheat like mashed news fed back to us. Not only do they pull our strings but as of this campaign fiasco, to some extent each others! Why do we allow this? Because we secretly like it – the extremes of Drama somehow coded within our human nature make us feel alive.
The worldwide Celebrity Culture we’ve absentmindedly cultivated has a monstrous side that continues to mutate with each generation. We have no more dinosaurs to flee, land masses to conquer, lightning bolts to interpret. Put most people on an extended holiday to sit idle and eventually they’ll become irked with restlessness. They will scavenge for any crumbs of stimuli to stir the pot, change the scenery. We just need the excitement of that something or someone “else”. Any “else” that can pack a punch and hurl us way beyond the ballpark of our mundane Self so we don’t have to deal with it. We want our escapism. The more frantic our overburdened and intricate society becomes the more it drives us to that “elsewhere” while driving us crazy.
Freedom of press and global transparency are paradoxes. We demand them, we legislate them. But they’ve unwittingly made us privy to too much info without having sufficiently sharpened our tools for discernment. We no more feed an infant steak tartare than a young global psyche Everything On Earth. But since the dye is already cast it’s up to us to learn how to digest all that’s “out there” by examining the breeding ground “in here”. We need to assume responsibility for our freedom of knowledge and expression. We need to develop the skill to filter what’s headline-worthy from what’s not – and how much attention to appropriate it. It’s our responsibility, not Trump’s (nor Clinton’s), to distinguish the parameters of good taste and implement them. You would no more allow your child to indulge in a diet of sugar than allow your mind to binge on camPain excess. They do not dictate what we consume, we do.
And lo and behold, what do we discover in the maelstrom? This candidate, for whom some would say we should build a wall around his mouth and let HIM pay for it, inadvertently winds up Uniting by Dividing. The more he wields his wild tongue the more we appear to be fractured while in fact bumping into one another on the increasingly backed-up global caboose of his fault line. We’re tweeting and texting and expressing all around the globe … as in “WE”. The collective WE. We’re more deeply pondering bedrock Institutions (like the NRA which has become a troublesome companion in our dysfunctional society) or The Constitution (which was relegated to stodgy “historical significance” until Khizr Khan modernised it with blossoming moral insistence). As our dirty laundry airs before our eyes the chasm appears to widen – yet also heighten our further witness to mass malfunction and the need for long overdue change. Maybe just maybe, like the aftershock of a Brexit Morning, he is waking us up to our deepest discontents in the best sense. Maybe there is a semblance of logic in his lunacy.
No, he does not belong in The White House. Yes, he most definitely belongs in The Why House. Why didn’t we see this coming? Why didn’t we foster a stronger society during these many past decades? Why are we so blind sighted by nationalistic pride and the singular greatness of our world image that it skews our ability to see the flaws within our inherently wonderful system? And why do we allow ourselves to be dumbed down over time by media-crity?
Many might say there’s a lack of inspired choice in this critical electoral race. The cavalier comments of a loose-lipped, swashbuckling candidate resound across this planet, quaking us all in certain measure … as does the cunning of an ultra-qualified female first with dubious history yet stellar comprehension of the political arena and its navigation. This vote is not just a localised American one it’s a vividly global vote.
So let’s chat about choice. Put on your sunglasses and move over Clinton vs.Trump. Here comes our dazzling but less obvious competitor … that far more penetrating, soul-searching one with even more stunning future implications:
The Choice For US … for meaningful introspection … to know who we truthfully are and what really drives our most minute thoughts and actions which (yes they really do) impact our worldwide ones over time.
Our growling Global Selfie mirrors our festering Inner Selfie. What plays out on the global canvas emanates from the local one – the soul canvas. It is impossible to spawn poor crops from healthy soil unless by human tampering or a sudden jolt of Nature, just as it is impossible to harvest inept or corrosive political might without having somehow fed it into being.
So IF we choose to use this election as a means of unpleasant soul-searching so that in four more years the fundamental soil is richer with possibility … and IF we become less enamoured with the glamour we imbue our polished Leaders and their polished promises (with sober understanding that seduction is part of the campaign romance and fades in election aftermath) … then perhaps our bounty will yield sustainable elements full of sound advice rather than sound bytes. To get there we must first cast our ballot for US and not trivialise this concept too, as sound byte.
Both candidates represent historic change. Voting for that which is “unprecedented” is inherent in this year’s election no matter which way you lean. However the swollen belly of indigestible political rhetoric that has infuriated an already indignant America … and the injustices of Women’s Suffrage which smack at the core of nations worldwide … are not going to suddenly dissipate with the cast of a vote. The allure of “unprecedented” doesn’t ensure a candidate’s competence – only that they are “unprecedented”.
Voter Beware! When the choices get slim and time runs short and emotions run high and fuses run out, America must sober up and vote with temperance not temperament.
Temperance is an adult decision that recognises the great imperfection of the current system yet knows that a stepping stone in a Wakened State is far more potent long term than knee-jerk reactivity in a Wasted State.
When pulling that lever in that voting booth remember that an “ideal” candidate doesn’t exist and never has, except in our wishful thinking. The dream of a saviour will have to come from our Self, multiplied by the multitudes. An impetuous and vindictive burst of trigger-happy can leave a hazardous legacy far worse than an interim vote that at least transitions us in tact, four years hence.
Explosive change is not unknown to this planet. We have witnessed over time the extinction of massive species, civilisations, and institutions. But this time, in the mounting pressure-cooker atmosphere of a weary and disillusioned public, elevated perspective may not yield immediate gratification but will reward us with more opportune choice in the near future.
Yes, our vote matters – and so too our thoughts. Cast them both wisely upon this decisive moment, lest they ferment ever deeper and rear themselves in four more years, ever wronger.