The late comedian Richard Jeni once said in reference to American politics if you’ve gone too far to the right or too far to the left then you’ve . . . gone too far.
And here we are in 2018. Our president says to the nation during a joint news conference how much he enjoys conflict and how happy his White House is. “Believe me everyone wants to work in the White House,” he said an hour before Gary Cohn became the latest to say “Not so fast.”
Meanwhile, those on the right who’ve dedicated their lives to backing up Trump no matter what he says or does is signing on for high tariffs, tax cuts to the rich (which studies show have already led to corporations buying back their stock and not passing the savings on to their workers), a wall that will never be built, no gun control even as school children continue to be gunned down, and continue to point at the robber-baron economy and Trump’s slash and burn policies toward regulations as the reasons why everything is going well.
Chaos? The far right doesn’t see it – unless it is “Controlled Chaos” – a nonsensical term, or unless it is Obama’s or Hillary’s fault.
How is it not chaos? Well according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “I think it’s pretty simple. Look at the success of the administration. We’ve got a strong economy, we’ve got ISIS on the run, we’re remaking the judiciary. Every single day we have more and more succeed that we’re adding. If you have a place in chaos, you’re not able to function and make big things happen, and we certainly have the ability and continue to do that.”
Meanwhile, the far right also turns down any criticism as being from the “Fake News Media” even if the words quoted are the president’s own.
Deflection, derision and divisiveness are the key ingredients to keep us confused, angry and engaged in an emotionally charged environment where logic and facts have no sway.
Body shaming, ethnic slurs, attacking your intelligence, cherry-picking which facts are used in arguments, ad-hominem attacks, false equivalence and pure mean-spirited aggression are favorite tools as those on the extreme right stay within their own philosophical cul-de-sac cesspool and undercut any attempt at compromise or understanding.
Everything critical of the current administration is therefore dismissed as a direct attempt at disruption and while vehement Trump supporters wave their American flags they dismiss everyone else as being un-American if they display any critical thinking.
At this point far-left Liberals are nodding their heads or jumping up and down screaming “Down with Trumpkins,” or some such twaddle, but hold on I’ll give the far right a chance to cheer in a second.
In a reaction to the far-right action (proving Newton’s third law much to the chagrin to those who deny science) those on the far left scream heavily, engage in body shaming, dismissive condescension, lumping all conservative opinions into a misogynistic, misanthropic, racist and religious cornucopia cesspool where anyone who doesn’t “get it” is that barbarian, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal who denies the world is round.
These two extremes battle each other on our airwaves, in print, in social media (especially in social media where those who’ve longed to have a voice find they indeed can scream and rant and rave and be heard.)
One could argue social media is the largest cesspool of confluence of the two extremes and aided by trolls, bots and plain ignorance are stirring the pot without ever bothering to see what is in the pot.
Meanwhile there are many who are disaffected and upset. They sit in the middle and have no idea where to turn.
They believe Congress, the president and most elected officials have long been bought by special interests – like the NRA or unions – and no one will listen.
These people fear Hollywood has been overrun by do-gooding dweebs who are so politically correct there will soon be a hash-tag group called #smellfree to represent those who’ve been abused by people who are too flatulent.
The truth is most of us sit somewhere in the middle. An overwhelming majority apparently support whatever religion you wish to practice, support marriage to whomever you love and want equal opportunity and healthcare for all.
The vast numbers of these people, while wanting controls on immigration also want to support people here and anyone who wants to be a part of the American experience. They understand that gun control doesn’t mean dumping second-amendment rights.
And they understand just how incredibly screwed up the country currently is. They understand the president, congress and the judiciary are not living up to their expectations.
They realize we put those people in office and more importantly today’s young people are waking up to the idea that political participation is necessary to safeguard the freedoms for which our ancestors fought.
It is time for those in the Middle to be heard.