Indisposed by fear and sloth


 “A man can smile and smile and be a villain.
 Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Those first Tuesdays  in November when we think we are making a difference, but it’s, at best, a season finale like that of any other “reality” show. The comparison could be worse, consider the accuracy of a pro-wrestling metaphor.

The candidates, via their marketeers, choose audience segments to appeal to and then they pretend to espouse what that group wants to hear, the candidates tell group “A” that it wants to hear, then tells group “B” what it wants to hear.  The candidates don’t care if these positions–dumbed down to sound bites and hot buttons–are contradictory as they hope/know that all groups are indisposed (by fear and sloth in equal measures) to listen to what they don’t want to hear, and consequently won’t notice. If the marketeers guess right, and the sum of their chosen audiences ads up to 51 % of the 57% of us who vote, they “win.”

Democracy is a benign illusion, a fantasy no different than any other televised entertainment. Televised, here is broadly meant as seeing from a distance, for these days there are lots of ways to watch medium cool, made tepid by faux interactivity and the illusions of choice. Politicians in candidate colors are not our leaders but our clowns. When they drop their November foliage, they disappear from view; they go back to being the well-paid staff of the plutocrats who financed the “mandates.”

Plutocrats live by quid pro quo, for elections, anyway, as their quid is up front. So the Politicians whose entertainments they finance had better pay up with interest, enthusiasm is optional. The positions are forgotten hot buttons that are only pushed as necessary to maintain the farce; then its back to “business” as usual. We, now, return you to your regularly scheduled programming…

OK, that was a little harsh. The politicians pick their masters, I hope their choices are based on an individual moral stance and we, in turn and as individuals, can choose our politicians likewise and thereby get a government we can tolerate, even if not we do not wholly approve of it. In spite of the fact that, underneath it all, it is by, for and of plutocrats.

“All of the advantages of Christianity and alcohol;
 none of their defects.” –­­Huxley, again perhaps ironically

NOTE: Back in the ’70s or ’80s I did a black and white ink sketch of Uncle Sam with elephant and donkey hand puppets for the op-ed page of the paper I was working for. That was the inspiration for this piece. From memory, as I can’t find the original.