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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/11/16

2016: Will It Go Down As History's Worst Year in Politics, Or The Most Entertaining?

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Would that were truly on ice for a while!
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Nine months of backstabbing, lies, hypocrisy, contempt, bad jokes and slander.

In other words, politics as usual. But with Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and the political Christian Right in the arena, 2016 may be more entertaining than usual.

I've often said that America has made an entertainment out of religion and a religion out of entertainment: take away all of our rights as American citizens, but never, ever even think of taking away our right to be entertained. References to entertainment pervade our daily lives, with politics always being referred to as a circus.

The trouble with political entertainment is that it lessens serious issues, makes them boring in comparison and therefore not worth thinking deeply about: they are reduced to simple platitudes that are digestible to mass consumption: abortion, environment, climate change, marriage equality, immigration, terrorism, gun control are all placed amongst bombast and spectacle, super expenditures on ad campaigns, stellar endorsements and awesome rallies plastered with flags and slogans and logos. "Eggheads" (as candidate Adalai Stephenson was once considered) are mired in the truth and the issues. In other words, they are boring. View the clip below of Donald Trump's debate performance as analyzed by The Young Turks: Trump never answers the question about the nuclear triad, but instead bombards the interviewer (and the audience) with bold attitude and flashy nonsense, the "it" he so tells like it is. And if Meet the Press had a studio filled with Trump supporters, they would have gone wild with his "intelligent, down-to-earth" answer.

After all, thinking about issues is tiring and tedious, so Donald Trump takes the thinking out of the equation to the relief of millions.

The Real Political Arenas: Twitter and Facebook

Today, what you tweet (and re-tweet) is just as important as what you say in a long-winded political speech. The number of "friends" and "followers" on Facebook are just as important as numbers in the polls. The impact of social media has been used by politicians in the past, but its usage in 2016 will be phenomenally important. Applause and cheering at political rallies may be immediate gratification, but so are "likes" and re-tweets. The razzle-dazzle of words and images is compounded through the internet. America is bombarded with the entertainment of politics through their computers and their cell phones.

The Lesson Billy Flynn Has Taught Us

The character Billy Flynn in the musical, Chicago, emphasizes to his young client Roxie Hart that EVERYTHING in life is a circus, an entertainment and that to give people the old "Razzle Dazzle" is the only thing that really matters. Notice in the clip with Richard Gere and Renee Zellwegger, that he throws her a rosary, the subliminal message being that with religion and God on your side, you can get away with murder.

Billy Flynn is the sleaziest of shyster lawyers who can represent politics defending Congress's own irresponsible actions (Roxie Hart). Politics can use religion as a means to help "razzle dazzle" the electorate into voting the way it wants. God is razzle dazzle. God is certainly shock and awe. God is part of the entertainment America craves.

Snippets of 2015 show what we are in for in 2016 - times ten:

I kind of thought it was the job of a chaplain to be insensitive to atheists." - Ted Cruz

"My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well been documented, are various other parts of my body." --Donald Trump

Gayness must be a choice, because prisoners who are raped come out gay. - Ben Carson

Talking about non-issues is certainly part of the razzle-dazzle, isn't it?

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Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books éČ" Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)
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