Sunday, January 17, 2016


The political Kabuki in the United States only gets worse.  The President gave a striking piece of political oratory last week, but the vision was just about the heart of the matter:  a "vision" in dispute. Any sort of connection with the reigning psyche in America was AWOL.  The contenders for the presidential election look equally lost in a race without set rules, which would leave Pierre de Coubertin speechless.

The Republicans--mostly the two front-runners--act as if they are in a contest for the outlaw crown worldwide. The Democrats deal reluctantly with the Obama legacy, not to appear "naked."  The President is right when he tries to argue that the "complex" had better stay ahead of the "noise".  Nevertheless, his reluctance to recognize the importance of raw alienation has created a schism within a public opinion which feels betrayed and alienated. ISIL, Iran, income inequality, Congress are dealt with as "abstractions" or measurable containable challenges, but the Americans do not feel it that way. One does not need to return to McLuhan to understand the interwoven importance of image and message. Now the message is contradicted daily by the image and the consumer is left to overdose on the "negative". Analytical comments are no therapy. 

The conservatives have their heyday for now, all the more so since the first primaries take place in "fly over" states, where evangelicals prevail. Once the score is settled, Iowa returns to silent airplane mode.

More important is the cultural war which continues to be waged since the Southern strategy came into live with Reagan & Co.  When Ted Cruz mentioned "New York values" the other day, everyone understood what he meant.  Donald Trump stands for everything but New York values, but was too happy to appropriate the mantle of sophistication and attitude, which are anathema to the Bible class/barbecue crowd. I hope he didn't fool anybody. New York values don't need adoption, be it by Republicans or Democrats. This being said, the cultural divide is a fact. The President is often too distant to be a bridge builder. When he betrays some emotion in matters of gun control, he only widens the gap.

Frankly there is nobody standing in the line of presidential suspects who is convincing. Oblivious of any worldview, looking like an Arthur Miller salesman, a demented pastor, a sleeper cell or as over-programmed females (there are two), they hardly ignite passion or sophisticated debate. They are boring.

It is hard to believe in a better tomorrow. America is not in retreat, it is just another rebel without a cause. The main problem now is that the great knack to coalesce has been lost. What is needed is Reagan flair combined with Kennedy vision. Any candidates?

No comments:

Post a Comment