Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Playing One's Part

Few images stop me in my tracks anymore, much less make me want to drink at dawn, but this one did the trick earlier today:

For all the talk about "elitism" in American politics, and the need for candidates to "connect" with the common herd, this single image shows that even a head of state with incredibly low poll numbers is treated as king. Professional journos and commentators stress that acquiescence before the president is a simple show of respect for the office. But that's what they're paid to do, to keep the discourse about and public behavior towards our rulers in check and well within acceptable lines. If Bush is as despised as liberals insist he is, then why is everyone so polite in that photo? Decorum? Respect? Fear? Apathy? Call me romantic, but in a free society governed by such a murderous, corrupt cabal as this fading administration, the audience should be allowed to pelt that screen with rocks and garbage, while Howie Mandel reverts to his old act, screeching and wailing his approval.

But they wouldn't -- not even if that show's producers provided the projectiles and awarded cash prizes for the best aim. Why? Because at bottom, despite all the "populist" rhetoric that is presently the rage, most Americans will always submit to their political superiors. Obedience and subservience to power is the American way. Kabuki sideshows where candidates toss back shots before firing weapons and rolling bowling balls is seasonal rube bait. Candidates may cater to the population's favorite pastimes, like NASCAR and pro wrestling (with mixed martial arts sure to follow), pretending that they share the voters' passions, yet everyone, from high to low, understands and accepts the fix. People say that they reject elitism, but in the end, they assume the position, then wonder why they're getting fucked.