The shameful state of politics

August 12, 2015

To mount a Presidential campaign these days, you need just two people: a candidate and a wealthy donor.
Or, in Trump’s case, just one: he is his own billionaire.
And he is the unadorned face of American politics.
~Amy Davidson writing in the New Yorker


While the first Republican debate was televised, I stayed safely in the bedroom with a good book, while my husband and nephew watched … and mostly laughed. That’s because the state of politics today is laughable — shameful, even.  Trump is a buffoon, but his high poll numbers tell us that the populace is, well, what DOES it tell us about the populace?  I don’t want to say what it tells me. But it tells us something else,too. It tells us that the political system is broken. Really broken.
campaign-reformBut I think it can be fixed. I don’t think it will be fixed, but it can be. Every day I am reminded of the great need for significant, strict and enforceable campaign reform. It seems to me that if each presidential candidate were publicly funded with the same amount of public money, the special interest groups would lose their power. Public money because I believe it would be in the public’s interest to have a corruption- and crazy-free election for a change. Because, you know, special interest groups are who really runs this country.

Call me simplistic, if you like, but if politicians did not fund raise, it would be a big step toward the people taking back control of politics.

Now, I’m not stupid. I know there will always be ways special interests make themselves ‘useful’ to politicians.  Those loopholes must be closed, one by one, for our political system to function ethically.

Media need to clean up their act. Oh, I know that each news channel has its bias and they thrive on lies.

what-makes-politicsI lay at the media’s feet responsibility for the shameful way candidates grandstand.  The crazier the story, the better is the rule of thumb for getting maximum media coverage.  Can you imagine Walter Cronkite covering the kind of nonsense that current news-readers do?

Despite our much-vaunted freedom of the press there must be media reform, too. Because the lies that are perpetrated today help no one.  It’s bull shi t, plain and simple, the kind of thing that Jon Stewart was so good at pointing out. Outing BS is Bill Maher’s specialty, too. As the years passed and the BS got thicker and thicker it’s been frustrating for me to watch either show. Don’t get me wrong: I agree with just about all of what they say. I just can’t bear the reminder that our society and its people have sunk so low as to fall prey to this political and media BS.

bipartisanship_bipartisan_orgy_political_poster_1267408160_answer_4_xlargeLeft or right, it’s all the same. The only difference is that the right seems to have no boundaries. It’s way better at dirty stuff than the left, like presenting bias as fact. I’m not saying the left doesn’t swing that way, but it certainly is far less effective at it.

What flummoxes me is the popularity of Jon Stewart (missed already) juxtaposed against the high viewership of Faux News. I suppose it reflects the schizophrenic nature of our political system, this society in which a comedy show becomes a wise purveyor of news and a hyped up, lying network becomes the news show the common man or woman watches most.

As much as I believe campaign reform is possible, media reform, too, I believe that on a theoretical basis, only, because I don’t think anything will change. There are far too many vested interests for meaningful change to stand a chance.

It would be nice, though, if more Americans woke up to what is happening.

Maybe it would inspire something.  What, I don’t know. But something.

28 comments on “The shameful state of politics
  1. donna says:

    Of course I agree with you. I don’t think Donald Trump will be the candidate, but I know why he is doing so well. Because of what happened to me yesterday. Yesterday we sat in a government agency because of a fine that was levied against us for illegal dumping. My son put a bucket load of sand from our property to the open desert behind us. New owners are coming in October and told us no problem. they didn’t tell the government agency who levied fines of $1800 on us. for our meeting we had no advocate, no one to tell us what to expect….I am in government and this was frightening to me. We had to simply sit and take it, or they would make it worse. Donald Trump represents a guy who stands up and says this is crazy! you are being taken advantage of. No they shouldn’t let dangerous illegals out of jail, yes trade with China is uneven…yes Putin is dangerous. We want someone to stand up and say no more!! but no one does because they are all representing special interests. i listened to rubio the other day explain his personal views on abortion. He was clear Roe V Wade was here to stay, but when he was asked his personal views he didn’t back down and do the politically correct thing. He sounded reasonable and kind saying he would never want a woman to carry a child conceived from rape or incest. (both combined is a fraction of the abortions performed) but he was uncomfortable with abortions performed after the first trimester. And who wouldnt be? Yesterday I heard Hillary completely tangle everything he said. I rarely listen to these guys, but I was putting on makeup and happened to hear the whole thing….I wouldn’t have known Hillary was lying about it but there it was. So I decided if a politician says another politician said something I will turn them off immediately. Just tell me what you are going to do…..but they can’t. because they have very little idea how to fix it

  2. Amy says:

    Hi Carol…I am totally frustrated with politics and society, too. I don’t even watch the news anymore. I used to watch Bill Maher, but even that frustrates me now. I think part of the blame goes to both the right and left political commentators. They just fuel the fire of anger and resentment instead of finding common ground. I once heard an independent speaker talk politics and he made so much sense. He wasn’t back biting or name calling or BSing. He was stating things as is, how things could work if the BS would just get out of town. It was refreshing. There is nothing refreshing about this whole political mess and the angst in society today. It’s sad.

  3. Don’t let it get you too down. This is all for entertainment. That’s why the media gives this guy so much attention. You’re right – most of these national outlets cover the outrageous over the mature which give certain people incentive to be more outrageous. This is why John Stewart seems so sane. He’s supposed to be telling jokes, not the other way around.

    It’s all to get eyeballs to the screen. In the end, I think we generally make reasonable decisions even if we have to reverse course and adjust the next go round. I’m a political news junkie and I’m sitting this phase out because it’s not serious – not yet. Kind of the same season of 999 an election ago. I think it just give talking heads something to yap about. Things will simmer down and serious candidates will emerge closer to elections. These polls usher in silly season every time. 🙂

    • I would have agreed with you once, but not after Schwartzenegger was elected in Calif on the basis of his celebrity, Bush was elected TWICE and he can barely get a complete sentence out. No, I have no faith in voters. None.

  4. Carol, I agree with you. I enjoyed taking political science classes in college and participated in some campaigns. But, no more. I believe most politicians are bought and corrupt – that explains why Washington DC has the most millionaires. I also think Trump is gaining traction because he tells it like he sees it – without bullet points or teleprompters or professional handlers. We are starving for a Winston Churchill or Margaret Thatcher – but they wouldn’t be funded by today’s money managers. I have not chosen any candidate. I agree with you that the system is broken.

  5. Couldn’t agree more, and yes I miss Jon Stewart already and Trump is a buffoon of epic proportions.

  6. Applauding…loudly!

  7. I was leaning toward Hillary a while back, but now I am taking a serious look at Bernie. He has defied the odds and then some. Perhaps the millennials see something there and that gives me hope for the future.

  8. I cannot imagine living in a country that had the Donald as President. We would be nuked within weeks. I’ll be heading someplace warm, with water, until the smoke clears.

  9. hillsmom says:

    Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that (Tr)Chump may well be nominated/bought&paid for. Every time I happen to hear his non-answers and squirming away from legitimate questions, I feel really sick.
    The only person I listen to and then feel a sense of hope is Elizabeth Warren. Would that she could be cloned.

    Please don’t give up on Hillary…yes she has issues, but she also has experience. The rethugs are pulling out all the stops to undermine her. I’ll try to find the quotes Donna’s talking about…HRC vs. Rubio…to make up my own mind.

    Does anybody remember who referred to “chump” as, “That stubby-fingered vulgarian.”? It was years ago.

    (Apologizing in advance for particularly disjointed comment…) There was an interesting article about our country being an oligarchy and no longer being a democracy/republic, by Jimmy Carter. I guess I can’t post the link here. (I think I found it off Bad Girl Chats)

    • Warren isn’t the sharpest knife in the rack, unfortunately. Hillary is bugging me this year.

      • hillsmom says:

        Wow Miz Carol, Are we speaking of the same Elizabeth Warren? I don’t get knives in a rack, but she is the Senator from MA, a former professor of law at Harvard…yes that Harvard. She has actually stood up to Big Banks, Wall Street, even the President. Yes, she’s mad as can be, and doesn’t want to take it any longer! Unfortunately, she has said she’s not interested in running for POTUS. She stands for the middle class and I think she may campaign with Bernie. Just MHO.

        Best Regards, hillsmom

  10. Well, I nominate you for President. You’re right we can’t change the system and the people in charge won’t. So where does that leave us. I guess we get the government we deserve.
    You really said it well and it really leaves us all frustrated. When you have the answer let me know and I’ll vote for you.

  11. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…

  12. Politics is a big dirty mess but it really always has been since day 1 in this country. What is different is we hear every little thing they do or say these days and of course there are SO many more special interest groups.
    The media is nothing but a big spin machine. Numbers and words can be spun in anyone’s favor. I stopped working for big media because of the spin they wanted me to write.
    Our universities are nothing but propaganda machines too.
    3 of my adult kids (30’s) who have always voted liberally are telling me they would vote for Donald. When I asked them why they said, because he says what everyone is thinking but they are afraid to say in public, because he is beholden to no one, because they believe when he says he will build a fence and then fix the issues with legal immigration he will actually do it and he will improve our GNP.
    I asked if they were afraid of his temper and worried he would drop the big one on a country that disagreed with him (my biggest fear of him) and they said no.
    I was a huge supporter of Hillary too. I worked on her last campaign. No more, no way. I happened to hear Rubio’s interview and her response and it was an outright lie.
    I agree with you 100% about the finance reform Carol. It is disgusting the way political elections are bought and sold. I also want term limits.

  13. Carolann says:

    I’m with Kathleen on this one…ditto to what she said!

  14. Denise Baer says:

    I just posted on someone’s blog about the mockery of our government and choosing the next leader of our country. It’s embarrassing. I’m not a party voter, and honestly, I can’t stand party voters. Our system is messed up because we basically have only two parties. We need to ween in people from the general public and reduce the Democratic and Republican power. In my opinion, it will always divide our country.

    Every other voting year, politically rich candidates should not be allowed to run. We should only allow our peers to run. This way, more and more U.S. Citizens would enter into Congress, dispersing the power and corruption. The media should only be allowed to give us updates about the candidates credentials. As soon as they falter, they can’t report on the candidates anymore. But of course, this is my own fantasy of how our government should run.

    I live in Germany now, and it’s quite interesting seeing my country from the outside looking in. In many respects, it saddens me, not just the politics but the violence. Glad to see there are others fed up with the joke our media and society makes of our politics.

  15. Ruth Curran says:

    You are so right! What will it take to set the alarm to wake everyone up….

  16. No different here in Canada – I watched the first leaders’ debate and the front runners all sound like idiots – and the woman (yes, Venus is the smarter planet) hasn’t a hope in winning.

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