Bring the Noise. Please Also Include Ear Plugs.

15 Sep

With the growing din of Presidential mudslinging promising to drown out the noise of other societal Hot Topics from here til November, I want nothing more than to fall into a Van Winklenian slumber until election day.  When once I was a young upstart eager to take on debate with all Arch Conservative Foes about American-Imperialism-This and Impending-Environmental-Disaster-That, today I just want to silently back out of the room.  Move along, nothing to see here.

I hate that I’ve developed such an apathetic attitude; civic engagement and debate are, after all, the backbone of a healthy democracy.  Unfortunately, the majority of current public political discourse – if it could even be called that – has devolved into a toxic display of windbaggery, equal parts Snake Oil Salesman’s pitch, and a rabid preacher’s fury intent on getting our collective panties whipped into knots.  There is barely a shred of anything truly useful in any of it to inform or empower the electorate; its main purpose is as a tool of mass distraction, and in upping the lucrative Entertainment ante among news outlets.

I also don’t bother with heated debate because in most cases it’s a pointless exercise.  Just as I know that there is really no way in hell anyone’s going to convince me to shift my core beliefs, no matter how many fetus-in-trash-can photos they brandish or snappy photo/sound-bite memes they circulate on Facebook, I have to appreciate that there are folks with opposing viewpoints who are as staunchly committed to theirs as I am to mine.  And that is Way Cool.  We can agree to disagree, no energy is wasted;  Awesome. As long as you truly believe something because you came to that conclusion on your own,  that you’re down for a cause not because some sweaty radio blowhard barked it in your ear, or a dreamy-eyed intern at PETA told you to do it, s’all good in my book.  God bless America.

Who I really take issue with are the spin-swallowing hoards mindlessly signing on to any random ridiculous rhetoric of the day, be it the thinly-veiled racism of the Birther movement, or the attempt to ban circumcision by (anti-Semitic?) lefty do-gooders, what have you. We’ve become knee-jerk reactionaries to every scent of a pseudo-story, a population of sensational headline readers that never gets past the first sentence of a news article, because our opinion has already been formed in the frenzy.  Why bother?

And I will never, ever understand the vast legions of folks who simply DO NOT VOTE, a useless mass that somehow makes up the majority of our citizenry.  Sure, it’s your “right” to “not vote,” just like it’s your right to consume three cheeseburgers and a 64-oz Coke every day for lunch; but, as will prove true with  the cheeseburger scenario, there will be long-term repercussions to your choice  – or perhaps more correctly in this instance, your non-choice.  Repercussions such as  … well, just take a quick look around.  Are you 100% pleased with what you see?  No?  Well then.

So here’s to a good, long nap until November …. Or perhaps not a nap, but a dream-like moonwalk with my breath held tight, so as not to inhale the toxicity in the air.  Stay focused on the future, America, don’t drink the Kool-Aid, and please, please try and do some homework before the big exam.

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3 Responses to “Bring the Noise. Please Also Include Ear Plugs.”

  1. wampamuse September 18, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Enjoy your writing, as always! I think these essays could be published somewhere…i hope you will pursue that. There is actually an article today in the NYT about exactly how polarized America has become…It’s a scary picture. And i too get tired of the mud-slinging, but i am still going to watch the debates and stay as involved as i can before the election…. As annoying as today’s politics can be, i think we owe it to those who came before us (ML King, Kennedy, etc) to put up with some annoyance and discomfort in our daily lives to make sure that those rights are not taken away. And yes, everyone should vote! (Read that article in the NYT – one of the things they recommend is having voting take place on the weekend, like it does in France – a lot more moderates would vote then, supposedly.)

  2. wampamuse September 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    p.s. On a side note, i’ll answer your question about whether people who want to ban circumcision are anti-Semitic by asking another question: Are people who want to ban female circumcision in Africa racist? I don’t think you can compare the Birther movement, which is all about discrediting a black man (and based on lies), with a legitimate cause to stop doing something to male babies which is a) not necessary, and b) painful and potentially traumatic (and i say this as someone whose background is half-jewish, so no, i’m not anti-Semitic. But i am anti-superstition). I’m not ready to jump on the whole circumcision bandwagon because i don’t have kids, i don’t really care that much, and there are bigger issues out there that have my attention (i also get squeamish around lengthy discussions of foreskin). But i’ll say here that i don’t think it’s fair to compare it to the Birther movement. I just don’t think the two things match up at all.

    • the disgruntler September 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      Yeah it was a bit of a stretch from Birthers to the circumcision thing, I was sort of struggling to remember what more lefty-type hype there is flitting about that especially annoys me. Being against circumcision I totally get, but banning it outright seems too far to go at this juncture in current society, when for so many people it is rooted in a centuries-old religious tradition. I don’t know about comparing circumcision to clitorectomies though – do you know anything about the basis for that particular practice? I don’t, though my initial gut reaction is that it’s just outright blatant oppression of women on so many levels – to demean them, control their bodies, rob them of sexual pleasure blah blah blah. While the religious reasons behind circumcision may be equally questionable, I’m guessing the ultimate motive isn’t to try and oppress men.

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