January 11th, 2011 11:09 EST
When Will The Politicians Stop Bickering and Fix This Country
Would you rather spend your time playing Ping-Pong or fix a car, plant a garden, paint a picture, sing a song?
It seems to me the Fourth Estate daily tells us Ping-Pong is more important. Democrat Smith says this, Republican Smythe says that. Back and forth. Tedium personified. And the longer the game the less anything gets done. Our politics have become a game of either ping or pong. We have forgotten that it`s not about winning, it`s about improving the commonweal.
You can`t fix a car by chucking a part back and forth between two mechanics. They have to get in sync. They have to help each other "and do the work. But American politics has come to resemble a game between nasty drunks in a lowdown barroom. A brawl. If two mechanics started arguing about our car we`d walk out and go somewhere else. We want the car to run right, we don`t give a damn about their egos.
Most of us would rather make something, or repair something, or maintain something. We like to fix things up, entertain each other. But the politicians seem to want to tear each other up. I think that the more we have become a throw-away society the more uncivil our society has become, because we have lost the vital impulse to repair, to improvise, to rebuild "and our politics show it.
The consequence of watching our elected leaders night after night jockeying for position is not only wearying, it is destructive. We begin to hate the news from Washington and our state capitals. We begin to hate our leaders, because we intuitively suspect they are not our leaders but rather our tormentors. We know that bribed leaders represent no one but their bribers. They are charging us our tax money to watch this tawdry show, and the media love it because it relieves them of the onerous and costly task of reporting the real news.
What is as boring and predictable as a Sunday talk show? The same old blabbermouths spouting the same old crap for money. The producers don`t even trouble themselves to find more interesting people. They drag out the same predictable turkeys week after week in spite of the fact that our culture brims with people with unusual ideas. These shows are a con that reflects our political culture.
Why can`t they produce a Sunday talk show as interesting, say, as Charles M. Blow`s columns for The New York Times in which he instructs us how to understand statistics, how to make sense of the numbers the talking heads throw around in pursuit of their tired old agendas? Why can`t they offer us forensic accountants who might shed light on budgets and show us how to explore local government? Why can`t they do " something useful?
Why can`t we hear from the scholars who really study things instead of the pundits who bend matters to their preconceptions? When is the last time you heard a news show undertake to tell us about the consequences of our broken infrastructure, our failing water supply, over-development, or the failure of our society to offer higher education to the poor?
I don`t think these are rhetorical questions. I think the answer is that our society is governed by a corporate oligarchy that does not wish us to understand the sort of issues Charles Blow elucidates every week. This oligarchy prefers Ping-Pong because it deems Ping-Pong harmless, whereas enlightenment might mean questioning the oligarchy itself, and that would mean challenging the media.
If the lobbies and the the Big Bucks advertisers wished us to work together, to create something, it would happen overnight. But what they wish is to continue to pick our pockets and buy government. A bought government plays Ping-Pong with politics. A good government sits down and works things out.
Djelloul Marbrook is a retired newspaperman. His second book of poems, Brushstrokes and Glances, will be published by Deerbrook Editions on December 20, 2010. His first book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. It won the International Book Award in 2010. His novella, Artemisia`s Wolf, will be published by Prakash Books of India in December. His novella, Saraceno, was recently published as an e-book. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.
Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm
New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/
Artists Hill, Literal LattÃ©`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/
His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com
His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com
His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com