Tonight’s US Presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be watched by many around the world, but it would be hard to argue that any of them will be watching with hopes for something of substance. Some of the most important topics facing humanity (and countless other species for that matter) may be touched upon, but not in a way that gives them the respect, attention and the intelligent discourse they deserve. And most thoughtful people understand that this a farce anyway. Banal, manufactured outrage will be the main entrée served. A stale, unoriginal and rehashed dish as the recipe demands. The questions will be carefully vetted to exclude content offensive to corporate interests. And no third party candidate, not one, will be permitted into the debate despite the glaring unpopularity of the two selected candidates. So if any of this is true why would anyone watch it?
Here are just four major, existential issues that may or not may not be addressed, and how the two candidates measure up:
Climate change is a verifiable fact accepted by 97% of the scientific community, mass species extinction is accelerating and caused by human activity, and the collapse of the biosphere may be imminent thanks to the rapacious greed of industry, the military industry and consumerism.
Trump incredulously peddles the inane lie that global warming is a hoax made up by China and he would like nothing more than to implement policies that would turn the already beleaguered American landscape into one resembling Xingtai. He is an obvious human supremacist, wedded to capitalist plunder of the earth.
Clinton has taken boat loads of money from the fossil fuel industry and did her best to promote fracking worldwide via her position as Secretary of State. Her view of Iraq as a business opportunity also signals that she has no intention of doing anything to alter the current earth destroying economic model.
Police violence against unarmed, black people is rife and blatant as cities are erupting in justified protest.
Trump has made heinous statements about Mexicans, Muslims and people of color. He is unabashedly totalitarian in his outlook and style and has said he thinks more, unquestioned police power is the solution to an already thoroughly corrupted system.
Clinton enthusiastically supported and promoted her husbands racist economic and crime policies which primarily targeted people of color and created the incarceration industrial behemoth that has ballooned the prison population to what it is today. She supports neoliberal economic polices which decimate poor communities, especially communities of color. She has also been very tepid in her support of Black Lives Matter.
Militarism is a growing threat and the nuclear annihilation menace never went away.
Trump’s positions have aligned perfectly with plumping even further an already bloated and smug military industrial complex. His finger on the proverbial “button” should also keep any sane person awake at night.
Clinton has a trail of bodies following her from wars, coups and interventions she has voted for, championed and supported from Iraq to Libya to Honduras. The military industrial complex, including profiteers like Lockheed Martin, Grumman and Boeing, are very keen on her and she gets high marks on her foreign policy from war criminals like Henry Kissinger and Bill Kristol.
The divide between the uber wealthy and the rest of us is growing faster than anyone can keep up with.
Both Trump and Clinton travel in circles of the monied, elite class, attending each others weddings and golf dates, buying up real estate and enjoying high priced, celebrity festooned galas honoring their philanthropy. Both are thoroughly entrenched in oligarchy and enjoy enormous wealth plundered via the most brutal form of economic tyranny: neoliberal capitalism. Which thrives on austerity for the poor, privatization of all things public, and de-regulation of industry and labour. It is a scam of the most cruel kind.
Tonight the most absurd form of political theatre in a corporate, plutocratic state, the Presidential Debates, will be held with much media fanfare. Tomorrow conservative blowhards will litter the talkwaves with bizarre conspiracy theories about Hillary’s health or her Benghazi affair. Liberal pundits will chide anyone on the left that calls out Ms. Clinton’s ultra-conservative, war mongering, Wall Street loving credentials as being a secret Tea Party, Trump supporting misogynist. Trump’s blustering buffoonery will be lampooned as the notorious ramblings of a pathetically obsolete, yet somehow lovable, casino don. And the corporate elite class will sit back in plush board rooms and on country club golf carts grinning smugly after giving us masses a dose of innocuous pablum that they hope will at most numb our interest in the political process, or at least disgust us at the sorry state of government. But we should see it for what it truly is: one more attempt to distract us from their lucrative exploits in fear mongering, division, arms dealing, slave labor economics, third world extortion, and earth destroying for profit.
The value of theatre, as opposed to the Hollywood deception of it being all about entertainment, is to move one’s consciousness. This will do neither. It will not ignite a mass movement with the imagination for a just, fair and pristine world suitable for everyone to live in. Nor will it spark a movement to make actual, measurable, meaningful change. What it will do without a doubt is produce an infinite glut of social media clickbaits and memes, punchlines for comedians and themes for over the top op-eds expressing artificial outrage at one comment or another. Context, nuance and critical thought be damned.
So I ask again, if any of this is true why would anyone watch it?
I, for one, am over these shadow puppets on the cave wall.
Kenn Orphan 2016