John LeCarre, Britain’s brilliant espionage novelist, always refers to his country’s Intelligence services as the Circus. He does so due to the habitually childlike machinations of the alleged elites so cavalierly manipulating it between cups of tea and shots of Scotch.
The term Circus can be well applied to our own country’s farcical political campaigns. Although our presidential elections are closer akin to Three Ring Circuses. The three rings being: Republicans, Democrats, and us ever-duped voters.
Currently we face a world climate change with evolving consequences, an international virus, various forest fires, hurricanes, and a swath of other natural events able to over-tax the best minds of the world – even if they were cooperating.
Instead, our self-anointed potential leaders are spending all their time, and millions of dollars of voter donations, bashing one another like small boys and girls do in the verbal preludes that lead up to their childish hair-grabbing, nose-bloodying fights.
I’ve written I prefer Mr. Biden to Mr. Trump. Actually, I find both running embarrassingly infantile affairs. I still stick with Mr. Biden, but grudgingly. The daily barrage of money-begging emails I get from him and Kamala are about as ridiculously worded as Mr. Trump’s Tweets.
They always begin by asking me simplistic questions that demand “Yes” answers. “Would you like to see more racial justice? Would you like us to deal with climate change? Would you like peace in the world? Want good health care?”
Then the final question always arrives: “Then you’re ready to donate some more money, aren’t you?” The assumption of the low level of my and your feeble intelligence is that we will, naturally, tip in one more buck so they can continue to trash one another.
Deciding for the lesser of two such sales pitches is a daunting prospect. In the past, candidates like Abraham Lincoln and Frederic Douglas actually held public debates in which they discussed their ideas of how to solve pressing problems
The tv and digital age has largely done away with that. Politics is today almost only another game show. The stakes are much higher than a refrigerator or a new car, but the dynamic of the program is essentially the same.
It begins as a tawdry dog and pony spectacle in both the Republican and the Democratic rings. And our voter acquiescence is indeed what that word means: our consent to the Circus without protest by us. Instead, we support it, emotionally and financially.
Does this political campaign so far really deserve its name? Will it eventually satisfy our country’s and the world’s need for solutions to the accumulated challenges that face the human race?
I don’t have the answer to that question. But after observing our nation’s major corporations repeatedly plundering our voter tax dollars, bailing out their all-too-frequently unethical financial business practices, I don’t possess unlimited optimism.
Except for one thing: the developing demographic transformation that is inevitably occurring as America changes its skin color from predominantly rosy pink to browns, blacks, reds, and light bronzes.
This is a possible game changer. But only if the new potential coalition of colors will avoid the same name-calling baby talk of our present political figures. Those whose self-praising of themselves, on both sides, is endlessly fatuous.
I’m not sure our present political campaign is really a Circus. I may have misnamed it. May it not really be more of an amateur hour network situation comedy? One played out as if it were a serious attempt to help us become a mature country?
If so, I propose that no matter who is eventually elected this time, we will still find ourselves the occupants of a country where our leaders spend an inordinate amount of their time playing up to the near-sighted corporate wealthy.
Even Obama took a lot of big corporate money. Trump certainly does. Biden is not adverse to this either. The national battle for big business’s corporate bucks is a slickly guileful shadow game.
To win, one still has to simultaneously play to two audiences: the corporations and the people. Politicians must be masters of double speak. They must balance both sides of this intricately tricky equation.
As we voters go the Circus, the ultimate outcome depends on us having our heads as firmly attached to our shoulders as possible. With our own Circus taking place in the wildly-diverse street demonstrations we create, we are not ourselves immune to extreme nearsightedness.
It strikes me the real battle happening planet-wide is a existential test of the human race’s capacity to defend its fragile existence in a frequently hostile biological universe, against our own feeble internal mental universe.
We humans can come up with some bizarre behavior. The ability to shoot ourselves in the foot appears to be almost infinite. Our own Circus is a fascinating gamble. It’s a lot like a poker game.
Part smarts, part bluffing, and a whole bunch of highly unpredictable luck.