As much as Glenn Greenwald irritates me, his scathing break down of the US Presidential elections is right on the money:
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….
Strong and rational though it may be, the temptation to ignore entirely the election year spectacle should be resisted. Despite its shallow and manipulative qualities – or, more accurately, because of them – this process has some serious repercussions for American political life.
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.
Part of me feels ashamed to write endlessly about the horse race that pits the leaders of two corrupt political parties against each other in what mostly resembles a fashion show, and I agree with Greenwald about it’s increasing irrelevance to reality. What Obama and Romney say on the campaign trail does not correlate to action when in office – the relentless sound bytes are repeated only to attract particular demographics, not as a precursor to actual policy.
However, the seriousness of the outcome is enough to keep me going – every election cycle is another opportunity for disaster, with the Democratic Party being the only bloc of power left to prevent the disintegration of government and the potential for more disastrous war in the Middle East. I would love to write about the intricacies of policy difference between the two parties, the nuances in their proposed foreign policy, and the ins and outs of their economic agenda. But the sad truth is that while one side is still engaged with reality, the other exists in cuckoo land where simple things like adding up are ignored, and evidence dismissed as conspiracy. I occasionally sift through Republican policy proposals, but they are so ridiculous they are never worth taking seriously.
The main stream media has no interest in objective reporting or facts, and yes it is slowly but surely aiding the destruction of the democratic process. These are all huge problems that deserve our attention. But right now, keeping the Right out of power should be priority number one, and for that reason, I’m going to keep writing about the elections, no matter how maddening it is.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.