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  • Random Thoughts: Politics & Pop Culture

    I haven't said anything about much of anything for the past month or so, even as one outrageous event after another pervades the news cycle and feeds the partisan frenzy. So here goes, in a series of bullet points no less:

    • In some ways, I can't help but feel like we're living in The Princess Bride's "Pit of Despair" (sans the cheeky satire) and that our fragile democracy is, if not dead, then mostly dead.

    • At the risk of repeating myself (the child of a first-grade teacher is nothing if not redundant), I do know our nation has a serious case of pronoun trouble. "We the People" has become "You People," and it starts with leaders on both sides.

    • This morning, I read an excellent column on the "fake news" phenomenon and what it can teach you about event marketing. Much of the column isn't relevant to many of my friends in Facebook land, but this part is worth sharing in a broader context:

    "People are drawn to fake news because it caters to their biases. ... Want proof? Look at the Facebook news feed of a friend who holds opposite political ideologies than you do. You will quickly discover their feed looks nothing like your own because the news sources and articles will be skewed to show them what they want to see."

    • On that note, I'll leave you with one last pop culture reference. Since when did our country's theme song become, "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better"? Isn't there something wrong with that?

    • Pop Culture Addendum: Irving Berlin wrote “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.” He also wrote “God Bless America.” Which is our nation’s theme song?

    ••••••

    Given that it’s social media we’re dealing with, my political musings resulted in a number of comments. Before I knew it, I found myself going down the Facebook wormhole to make what I hope are a few salient points about the current state of the state. Here are the highlights:

    • We are so divided as a country right now that one side could say the sky is blue and the other side would disagree.

    • There's no question that the working class have been ignored in this country for the past three decades, an era that covers the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama years. I wish the Democrats had come up with a better candidate in 2016, but the current shit show we are living in is far worse than I imagined.

    • As a longtime journalist, the problem I have is that anyone can write anything, say they are a "news service," and if the content matches what you want to hear, then you'll share it. It doesn't matter if the commentary/news is legit or not, people share it. And as long as that continues, then unity is elusive at best.

    • Trump frightens me on a lot of levels, starting with the fact that he is incapable of telling the truth and showing genuine compassion for others. Instead, he has taken advantage of an already divided electorate and made the divide even larger. He is being forgiven now because the economy is booming (at least in his words), but his inflammatory rhetoric and inability to see that true leadership is about trying to do better by everyone — not just one admittedly ignored faction — is disastrous for us in the long-term.

    • What bothers me the most is the GOP was so desperate for a win so they could advance their agenda that they have attached themselves to someone who, ideologically speaking, represents the exact opposite of what they stand for. That is hypocrisy at its worst.

    ••••••

    Finally, after a person pointed to an editorial cartoon that said the Democrats’ only agenda is “I Hate Trump” and listed a number of things the Republicans are touting with the upcoming midterms, I decided to respond to that too. (After all, when you’re buried deep in the wormhole…)

    • What did Obama do? Here’s my list, for starters: Bailed U.S. out of 2008 financial crisis (worst since Great Depression); got Bin Laden; stood up to Russia. (And that's without the divisive pieces on health care and gay marriage.)

    • Obama wasn't perfect. He made a number of decisions that I disagreed with, especially with regard to education and border security. But all we heard was "I Hate Obama." At least he didn't treat the presidency like Pee-Wee's Playhouse.