Circuses and Misdirection (updated)

It has come to my attention that there’s some kind of gathering going on in Florida. I haven’t bothered paying any attention to it because I assume that nothing of substance will be discussed.

Have I missed anything?

How about the TV news? Are they covering the Caravan for Peace (which is actually relevant) or the nonsense in Florida?

Update: This, from Glenn Greenwald today is particularly relevant:

The reason I write so little about the presidential election is that it’s the ultimate expression of the CNN-ization of American politics: a tawdry, uber-contrived reality show that has less to do with political reality than the average rant one hears at any randomly chosen corner bar or family dinner. That does not mean the outcome is irrelevant, only that the process is suffocatingly dumb and deceitful, generating the desire to turn away and hope that it’s over as quickly as possible. [...]

The election process is where American politicians go to be venerated and glorified, all based on trivial personality attributes that have zero relationship to what they do with their power, but which, by design, convinces Americans that they’re blessed to be led by people with such noble and sterling character, no matter how much those political figures shaft them. [...]

The election process is where each political party spends hundreds of millions of dollars exploiting the same trivial personality attributes to demonize the other party’s politicians as culturally foreign, all to keep their followers in a high state of fear and thus lock-step loyalty.

It’s the supreme propaganda orgy, devoted to aggressively reinforcing the claim to American exceptionalism: the belief that even when things look grim, America will forever be that special God-favored land of freedom, opportunity, and prosperity, and all citizens should therefore be deeply grateful – quietly and passively so – for the privilege of residing in such a land, no matter how wretched are their circumstances and how pervasive is the corruption.

It’s what inculcates many Americans to believe that they enjoy vibrant political debate and stark democratic choice, even as so many of the policies that are most consequential and destructive for their lives – the “war on drugs”, the supremacy of the covert national security and surveillance states, vast inequalities in the justice system, crony capitalism that rapidly bolsters the oligarchy that owns the political process – are steadfastly ignored because both parties on those matters have exactly the same position and serve the same interests. [...]

It’s where the handful of important issues on which there are genuinely sharp and clear differences – social issues, reproductive rights, jurisprudence philosophy, a few social program and tax policies – are endlessly exploited to heighten cultural divisions and, more importantly, to obscure the similarities on everything else.

The election year process could and should be a meaningful opportunity for real political debate: the one time every four years when the majority of the population that is too busy or uninterested to pay much attention becomes engaged and thus informed. Instead, the process is the ultimate deceit. And the ultimate distraction.

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