I’m taking a deep breath and embarking on an examination of popular culture where politics, art and entertainment all seem to be colliding with one another the way the Columbia River empties into the North-West Pacific Ocean.
For those unfamiliar with that particularly piece of geography, the place where a mighty North American River crashes into the ocean in a churning tumultuous cascade of angry surf is called “Cape Disappointment.”
I try to avoid political musings in this column, not because I do not muse politically, but because expressing political points of view in this venue would more than likely mean running aground — watching enlightenment and conceded points drift away like so much flotsam and jetsam.
We aren’t, thanks be to God, at 1859 levels of anger in America, but due to the rampant and pervasive instant communications mechanisms that exist today, the resulting political discourse more resembles a 100-car pile-up on the I-5 after the fog creeps into the San Joaquin Valley.
Everyone seems to be angry and it has started at the top.
His politics and policies aside, I did not think President Trump would win the election mainly because America had never voted for an “angry” candidate. We liked happy warriors like FDR and Ronald Reagan. I was wrong.
I assumed there would be a backlash against President Trump, and there certainly was. I thought it would dissipate as time passed like it always seemed to dissipate when partisans got over the disappointment of their candidate’s loss. I was wrong again.
The American political system has never seen a president like President Trump — a man who refuses to let a challenge or a protest go unchallenged. Past presidents have almost always waved off protests, and tried to stay above the fray, being perfectly happy to have underlings do their “dirty work.”
For the first time in American history there is a president who seems to need anger and hostility like others need air and water.
The political opposition is more like their opponent than they’d like to think. When Judge Brett Kavanaugh was named by President Trump as his candidate for the Supreme Court, one of the major protest organizations lined up against Donald Trump wanted to be the first to issue a formal statement via press release.
In their haste, they sent it out to the press with the following lead sentence: “In response to Donald Trump's nomination of XX to the Supreme Court…”
They forgot to take out the “XX” and insert the name of the Judge who was nominated. The President could have nominated a reanimated Mahatma Gandhi and it would have mattered not to this group.
It has all given me a severe case of fatigue, and seems to show all sides in the worst light possible. Any attempt of relief from this political mayhem via entertainment channels of one form or another usually ends badly.
I can’t watch late night TV, as if I could stay up that late anyway… but if I did, it would only be a non-stop political discourse where being angry seems to be much more important than being funny. Where are “stupid pet tricks” when you really need them?
Anger and pride are not biblical virtues and even though they can be essential elements to artistic as well as pop culture ventures, when anger and pride are ends to themselves, not much enlightenment or positive exchanges take place. It all becomes whose side you are on and if your side is winning.
If Donald Trump declared the sky was blue, you can bank on Fox News stating this is one of the most profound and forward-thinking utterances ever made by a President and you can count on MSNBC declaring with equal fervor that Trump is only manipulating the color spectrum to hide a secret Russian dossier.
If only the combatants on these political battlefields could be as convinced that Jesus will take their anger, aggression and yes, their sins gladly upon his back as they are convinced their side is right, the world would change. But since people have had this option for over 2,000 years and still “click” on the default button rejecting Jesus’ incredible offer, hope that transformational change will occur is tepid.
Disagreeing without being disagreeable may be a cliché trampled by the Facebook juggernaut years ago; still we can change the world, we can voice our concern for the state of affairs in our country — we just don’t need a prefabricated press release or Twitter account to do it.
We can transform ourselves through Jesus and that is the most revolutionary act anyone can perform.