Monday, August 20, 2012

Quieting the Riot

One of the hallmarks of every Presidential campaign in these United States - at least for as long as I can remember in my lifetime - is the ceaseless volley of inane personal attacks that the candidates and their trained lackeys shall hurl at one another.  One guy is a Kenyan.  The other guy is a tax cheat.  This guy is un-American.  Oh yeah, well so is the other guy!  Why do they spend so much time and money hurling mud at one another and devote so much effing energy ensuring sound and not substance dominates the campaign?  Because they know their audience. 

We the people of these United States prefer Jersey Shore to Face the Nation and the National Enquirer to the Washington Post.   Our national A.D.D. prohibits us - as a collective - from engaging in depth on pretty much any aspect of any issue.  Oh sure, we cry and bitch about the negative tenor of the campaign and wonder aloud why the candidates spend their advertising money calling one another names as opposed to discussing their plan for fixing the clusterf*ck in which we presently find ourselves.  Yet we respond to the nonsense.  We lap it up in fact.  As long as it continues to make the needle move, we will continue to be fed a steady diet of it.  You know what you call a candidate for the Presidency of the United States who runs an issue-driven, attack-ad-lacking campaign?  Jon Huntsman

My least favorite mouth-breeding, hate-spewing device (employed with equal fervor by both sides of the great Red v. Blue Divide) is the manner in which the side opposing a particular President dares to equate the duly elected Commander-in-Chief of the United States to Hitler or Stalin, two of the most evil humans of not just the 20th Century but of any century in recorded history.  When President Bush 43 was in the White House, he was targeted by those in Blue.  President Obama has been similarly stained by those in Red during his term. 

As Ray Davies pointed out long ago we are a society that tends to think visual.  Perhaps that is the easiest way to explain the bottomless depths of the ignorance one reveals when one dares to make such a comparison is to employ a Davies-approved device - a visual aid.  Just about six months ago, on February 21, 2012, the members of an all-female Russian punk band named Pussy Riot broke into the Christ the Saviour cathedral in Moscow for the stated purpose of performing a "punk prayer" from the altar.  The "performance" was captured on video.   The three musicians were arrested.  They were charged with "hooliganism". 

This past Friday the three young women - who had been held in custody since their arrests on February 21st - were found guilty by a Moscow judge, Judge Marina Syrova, of "hooliganism driven by religious hatred".  They were sentenced to two years in prison.   According to the Washington Post, the trial bore little resemblance to one that we the people of these United States might expect to watch on Nancy Grace TV.  The three women were locked inside of a glass cage throughout the trial.  Their efforts to call witnesses on their own behalf were repeatedly thwarted by the judge as well.  When a defense lawyer complained that, "I have no rights in this court", Judge Syrova reportedly replied, "Indeed.  All you have are obligations."   During the trial the three defendants apologized to the court for their actions and noted that they were not expressing religious hatred but rather a political point.  Huge surprise to you I am sure just how well that defense worked. 

We are less than 100 days to the Presidential election.  While I reasonably anticipate that this request will fall on deaf ears, I propose an idea to "smarten up" our own participation in the campaign.  I care not for whom you vote (your vote, your choice) but regardless of whether you shall vote for Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney, make the promise to do the following.  Whenever you hear anyone (whether on your side or on the other) start spouting off about something inane or something offensive ("Your guy is like Stalin" for example) look them squarely in the face and say, "Pussy Riot you Ass Hat!  Pussy Riot!" If he or she does not know the reference, invite your listener to Google it. 

If you want to know what life looks like in a place where one does not have the right to express one's displeasure with the government without being imprisoned for two years (imagine what the sentence might have been had they actually damaged a single thing inside the cathedral), then spend some quality time with Pussy Riot.  If you cannot appreciate the difference between what it means to live there and what it means to live here and how our President - regardless of who it is - bears absolutely no resemblance at all to Stalin's linear successor Mr. Putin then do all of us a favor.  On Election Day, stay the hell home.

And one more thing.  Between this day and Election Day, shut the f*ck up.  Noise and sound are not interchangeable concepts.  If you do not believe me, give Pussy Riot a listen. 

-AK

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