Sunday, May 22, 2005

Let me entertain you!

Last night, Saturday Night Live ran a cartoon called The Diverter. The Diverter is a superhero who creates diversions when there is a real crisis in the country. When the talking heads were beginning to discuss the poor state of the economy, the Diverter flew overhead and created some lame celebrity controversy. When the nuclear waste stored under Yellowstone began to mutate and the news anchors began to report it, the Diverter flew over LA and made Jenna Elfman of Dharma and Greg fame(?) the owner of slaves. She was subsequently arrested and the whole nation ignored the mutant nuclear waste problem to discuss Jenna's "slave owning" as well as Mike Tyson's consumption of a dog.

When a formerly respectable news show like Dateline devotes an hour show to the rumored affair between an American Idol contestant and its judge, people watch it. Meanwhile, most of America is blind to the fact that Iraq, which we "liberated", is on the brink of civil war, if it isn't already engaged in one. Let me be the first to say, WE TOLD YOU SO. No exit plan = disaster. Still, no one in America cares.

Similarly, no one cares that our government has become a joke. Dick Meyer has a good analysis of The Wreck of the U.S. Senate in today's WaPo.
The Senate has managed to conduct the business of confirming or rejecting federal judges with relative efficiency and only occasional controversy for some 200 years. That the Senate is now going nuclear (to use its own vocabulary) over this legislative chore is a symptom of a rather serious illness in the upper body. Face it: Giving or withholding consent for judicial appointments is not akin to reversing global warming or ending world hunger. As overheated as the current standoff may be, it is a solvable problem and, worse, a problem of the Senate's own making. What has created the conditions -- and prevents a solution -- for this uber-partisan debacle is a degradation in the culture of the Senate that has grown acute since 1989.
We have shamefully given our institutions away to ideological intersts. I don't care what side of the political spectrum you fall on; both sides have become slaves to interest groups. The US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIU have way too much influence over our government. Notice their proximity to the White House. (For people who don't know DC, the Chamber of Commerce is directly across the street from the White House, and AFL-CIU is about a church away from being directly across from it.) "The American President" starring Michael Douglas and Annette Benning (one of my favorite movies) is a good reflection of the lobby process. I think only political junkies appreciate that movie, though, as nothing blows up in it. I mean, one of the problems was the threat of a massive airline strike. Ooh, exciting, right? Economic destruction is SO boring, isn't it?

Howard Dean was appealing to people because he wants to distance Washington from these special interest groups and give the country back to the people. He woke me up from a deep political disillusionment and made me realize that something was wrong. When he stepped over the line and stood on a stage accepting Gore's endorsement, he lost the election. Righties laugh at him because they need someone to pick on, I guess. They see him as a perfect target. Howard Dean would have done better in the election than Kerry, and a little better could have put the Dems above Bush. But the Washington nitwits in the Democratic party managed to convince the left that he was unelectable. They are so far removed from America that they can't see that America is not interested in Washington politics. I think, though, that they could, we could be persuaded to be interested in American politics. We need a dynamic leader whom an overwhelming majority of Americans will find favor. (Half is not an overwhelming majority.)

American Idol and reality television can't go on forever, right? What is the solution? Barak Obama? He has not only my vote, but I will be there ever step of the campaign. For now, I'll focus my energy on Hillary 2008. After all, weren't the 90s a grand time? Shouldn't we go back to those days of prosperity and PEACE?


  1. 1990's? I guess you forgot about Milosevic.

  2. How many of our troops were stop-lossed in the 90s? How many of them served two or three tours in Bosnia? How many real allies did the coalition have, as opposed to Pilau and Tonga? (Not to put down the two soldiers from those countries. They know theirs is not exactly the strongest force in the world.) Bosnia wasn't a perpetual state of war. (If you want to talk about the troops that are still there, then don't forget to mention the troops that are still in Germany and Japan.)