“Our pundits and experts, at least those with prominent public platforms, are courtiers. We are captivated by the hollow stagecraft of political theater as we are ruthlessly stripped of power. It is smoke and mirrors, tricks and con games, and the purpose behind it is deception.”
Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion
“A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death - the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, and murders that we are not going to be judged.”
Like so many of our public moments and instruments, such as the financial markets and public figures, the First Republican Primary Debate last night can best be described as 'a spectacle.' But that was clearly its design and intent, from start to finish.
There was never any mention of the risks in the financial markets and reform, except to repeat the hollow slogans of deregulation and the gods of the markets. There was posturing and personal gossip galore. There is less phony pandering to the crowd in a singles bar on a Friday night.
The closing chorus of the Pharisees was almost too much to bear.
I know this is 'politics.' And there has always been exceptional bad behaviour among the rich and powerful.
But at least in my lifetime we are setting the bar lower and lower, in so many ways. I remember Nixon and McCarthy. While we may have feared them for a time, we always knew what they were, and so did they.
Last night was awkwardly boorish, self-consciously shallow, garishly hypocritical, and embarrassing.
Have a pleasant weekend.