In My Humble Opinion
“In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
A symbiotic relationship has formed between those who believe we should all be taken care of and those who believe they should be taken care of. It has become something of an echo chamber, where the self-appointed elite and the self-appointed entitled, speak past one another with each side looking down in disdain on those who consider themselves neither elite or entitled. This particular “apple cart” was upset the other day in an election where the expectation of this symbiotic pairing failed when it came time to vote.
Those expecting to win, trotted out their celebrities to fill halls while those expected to lose simply filled halls. The blinding light of the obvious was lost on the elites because they couldn’t bring themselves to believe that their message wasn’t resonating with the great unwashed. They had forgotten to include the fellow designated to whisper “Thou Art Mortal” in their ear as they rode through the election as if in a Roman Triumphant.
Now, as the reality of “best laid plans” sinks in, there is a rending of garments and a gnashing of teeth as the vanquished parade their tears of unbelief through the streets demanding…something, someone do something to change the outcome. They grasp at the straws of total votes ignoring the fact that the 44 previous Presidents were products of the Electoral system, enshrined in our Constitution. They even proposed legislation hoping beyond hope that the flyover states will agree to relinquish their voice on the national stage. It is akin to proclaiming the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs co-world champions instead of just the Chicago Cubs based on total runs scored in the World Series and insist the Cubs agree to it.
Changing the rules after the fact is a plea of desperation and the behavior of spoiled children.
“An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.” George Eliot
The problem, as I see it, stems from the generations of “yes”. I fear for the country, not because of who temporarily leads it, but because of the possibility of real catastrophe. What happens if something truly horrible happens and the people of “yes” curl up in a puddle of self-pity to cry for reprieve? Who will be there to pick them up and dry their tears, murmuring “there, there” in the face of actual distress?
I believe another casualty of the recent election is the passing of the torch of a free press from the self-titled media gatekeepers to the people. As the media corporations became advocates, the only place one could go for dissenting information was the internet. Technology has overtaken the need for the “Walter Cronkite(s)” of the newsrooms to tell us what they think we need to hear. It was a change self-inflicted by the press on the press. They decided to join the campaigns. They decided who was to be exposed and who was to be protected.
Perhaps this has been true for a long time, but technology thwarted their plan this time. I don’t have to turn on the Nightly News Hour to be informed and newspapers…well, newspapers are a dying entity. An entity that has forgotten who their customers are. Nobody wants a paper telling them they are stupid thrown into their yard. That’s just litter.
Another idea that has come and gone with this election is the notion that “change” as a political slogan means anything. “Change” is what we got. “Change” without modifiers never really told us anything about what was coming either in this or the last election. Words that need modifiers, “change” and “tolerance” have been flung around in the past, as though they were simply desirable at face value.
Other words, like “justice” have been given modifiers like “social” and “economic” that dilute their meanings into political sloganeering. Most people should give thinks that justice never finds them. “Justice” is blind and “change” doesn’t define the good…necessarily. It is important to note that there are as many people happy with the outcomes as are sad about them.
If your only source of information resides in the corporate media or is thrown into your yard, you may not realize this fact. If you continue to insist that those who won this election are stupid and inconsequential to the body politic, I would suggest you start worrying now about the next election as well. All the safety pins, chants of discontent and broken glass serve to reinforce the belief that the current change was needed, if not desired.
Phillip J Hubbell is a writer, project manager and job seeker living in the American Midwest…flyover country.