Some call it the death of irony
By Mark Jamison • Guest Columnist | Some have called it the death of irony, the moment when Kenneth Starr, he of special counsel fame, stood in the well of the Senate and bemoaned the possibility that impeachment had become a partisan political tool. Then again, the gaslighting and Eddie Haskell-like pronouncements of cognitive dissonance by folks like Sen. Mitch McConnell have become normalized to the point where many are no longer horrified, just merely curious at what the scriptwriters of this perverse reality show that stands in for American political culture will come up with next. The emperor may have no clothes, but in the valley of the willfully blind who cares to notice?
Yet here in flyover country where we retain at least a physical distance from Washington despite the ever-present intrusion of $10 million a year media talents like Hannity and Tucker Carlson who complain in overwrought language about “the elites,” it seems our biggest political scandal is a Jackson County commissioner who has quit showing up while still collecting his emoluments.
We don’t even get too terribly excited when a fellow driving a pick-up truck sporting flags celebrating treason in defense of slavery exercises his constitutional right to yell louder than anyone else while driving through a crowd to make sure no one insults or criticizes his hero the naked emperor.
Why it’s not even odd to see a delegation appearing before a county commission demanding acknowledgement of their Constitutional rights as the militia of a historical understanding to own tools and implements of destruction (for self-defense mind you). Never mind that many who espouse that view most vociferously also proclaim allegiance and adherence to scriptural integrity, as if Acts really tells us that Stephen didn’t need faith so much as a good guy with a rock.
It isn’t as if we have suddenly become more polarized. Jefferson’s Republicans thought Adams’ Federalists were an existential threat to the Republic and were certain Adams held monarchical inclinations. We’ve always had a thing about monarchs, tyrants, dictators and such although more often than not our apprehensions and accusations were reserved for those we disagreed with – liberty as personal possession of the winners.
We’ve always been polarized … and paranoid too. It’s been observed that between the Illuminati all the way to the Red Scare we’ve had a paranoid style; infowars just has better distribution.
When I was a child it was held as a matter of civic pride that any little kid (well, boy at least) could grow up to be president if they worked hard enough. All men were created equal, we were told, and unlike equality in Animal Farm some weren’t more equal than others. So it’s heartening to see that a young fellow who inherited a fortune and worked very hard cheating on his wives, stiffing his contractors, bankrupting his investors, and generally acting like an egotistical horse’s behind while figuring out newer and better cons to get attention can truly succeed in America.
H.L. Mencken saw us for what we are: no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
W.C. Fields defined our highest ethical precept: If you can’t win fair … cheat.
P.T. Barnum saw us coming from way off: There’s a sucker born every minute.
But the shortest sentence in the Bible may be the most apropos: Jesus wept.