"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire
I can't remember the last time the public was so unreachable. The closest comparison -- if we include the obstinate march of the media -- is probably the run up to the war in Iraq.
Do you remember that time in our recent history? Do you remember the New York Times pounding the drums to send soldiers into the Middle East? Do you remember the way you were made to feel if you disagreed with the war? It was not pretty. It was a stain on democratic ideals and an injustice to democracy itself.
And it is happening all over again.
We are being given a false choice in this election. By now you probably have heard everything to sway you into thinking that not voting for Hillary Clinton is on par with allowing Hitler to take office. In fact, once-intelligent journalists make that comparison without flinching, as if the world's most bombastic used car salesman is the same as a fascist, genocidal maniac.
Donald Trump is obviously a repugnant human being. I do not know one serious person who believes he is competent, intelligent or capable of manning the world's most important job.
But this election, an election manipulated by the media's thirst for tabloid entertainment, and abetted by political parties who are oblivious to their own corruption and mismanagement, is making a mockery of all of us.
And you know something? We deserve it.
We shrugged as the media pumped Donald Trump into our homes 24/7. We could have demanded the same coverage for Bernie Sanders, but instead we guffawed at the spectacle.
We aided the media's manipulation through apathy, and now we are feigning surprise that it has come down to these two horribly flawed people.
Like the war in Iraq, we just swallowed the content and acted like the coverage was simply a reflection of the reality. It wasn't. It was an invention from the start.
I have spent countless hours debating with people online about this election. There is a fairly typical narrative that dominates the opinions of non-Republicans; vote Hillary or be held responsible for the monster that is Trump.
It's breathtakingly ignorant to saddle people with that kind of fear-based ultimatum. Through it, we have seen dozens of what would normally be campaign-ending scandals from the Clinton camp be systematically ignored by the public, mostly because the media has chosen to ignore them. The Wikileaks revelations -- and there are many that call into question the deservedness of Clinton becoming president -- have been framed as irrelevant or overshadowed by the conspiracy theory that Vladimir Putin is responsible for the hack.
Lost in the white noise is the legitimate position that the source of the hack is not even close to being as important as the content of the hack itself. But the media remains unmoved. Worse, the alternative media -- of which, most comes off as tin foil hat journalism -- is currently the only online source for relevant analysis of the leaked information.
Naturally, this causes many to assume there is no real story there, resulting in mainstream media scribing unserious articles dealing with risotto recipes.
But if you separated Clinton from the campaign and just looked at the actual documents, you would be compelled to challenge her for being duplicitous in nature and operationally diabolical.
The public has a short memory as it is, especially pertaining to the political elite. Clinton is a perfect case study of how the public can be blinded by their emotional responses to an imbecile like Trump, resulting in a lack of critical thinking towards a candidate who seems pathologically incapable of not being corrupt.
After all, it was the media who propelled Trump. It was the media who made him the Republican nominee. Sure, his followers are there, but if they gave Bernie Sanders the same amount of coverage and did not take Trump seriously, this election would probably be Sanders VS Marco Rubio.
But it isn't Sanders VS Rubio. It is Clinton VS Trump, and we are being told that if we do not side with one we are supporting the other. False dichotomies are especially damaging when they take away a person's principles and replaces them with guilt. In this election, and this is a tough pill to swallow for some, Sanders may have been the architect of the false dichotomy before us.
Sanders missed his political moment. Through his campaign he had the power to facilitate actual, tangible change. He did not leverage that power and instead backed Clinton who had worked tirelessly to sabotage him and disenfranchise his supporters.
It would have taken enormous courage, but if he ran as a third party candidate he could have driven a stake into the heart of a perversely corrupt two party system. Instead, like the political version of a person afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome, he co-signed the campaign of someone who betrayed him over and over again.
And here we are, experiencing political surrealism at its worst, conducting armchair punditry and acting like the apocalypse is approaching if we do not vote for corruption instead of buffoonery.
This is not democracy. This is satire, and we do not have to revere our chains.
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