It was tempting to title this post A Small Victory for Truth over Lying, but that would have been a lie. Neither political party, nor neither of the two candidates who ran for the presidency of the USA has a anything approaching a respect for the truth. If you disagree with that statement you are lying to yourself, stop reading this post and move on into your own world of fantasy. If two oppoents could claim a monopoly on lying then both could in this case. Nonetheless, there was a small victory on Tuesdaty for those in the non-lying class, or perhaps that should be those who prefer to be treated as if they aren't schoolchildren when it comes to confronting the issues we have before us.
If lying wasn't such a fundamental piece of keeping those who practice it in power and rolling in the dough, we'd be seeing the beginnings of tear down of many of the things that we all accept as a part of the game called politics. We're seeing some fraying around the edges, yes, but let's get real. Wholesale change isn't going to occur simply because one side lost in a game where the winners don't matter. The whinners might matter more.
We can talk about the candidates, the lack of candidates, skewed polling, Nate Silver, the non-messaging messages, the technological failures, the failure of this or that, the shift in demographics, media bias, storms, etc... but that's a game that only losers play. There is something to the shift in demographics, but only the blind (or those with blinders on) couldn't see that coming over the last 20 years. What's really at the core of why so many feel so unfulfiilled after this recent election is that the outcome proved that the industry surrounding politics in this country failed and failed miserably.
It failed because at its very essence it took those it was selling to for granted. It failed because it exists to feed itself, not offer a better shot at the future. It failed because lying is its best weapon and the targets of those weapons have, I hope, simply dodged the bullets flying at them from both sides. Set aside the issues for a moment (if you can), and recognize that both sides believed that they could advertise, market, and sell to a public in the way that would have never allowed Willy Loman to ever collect a commission. It has been a contempuous underestimation of the intelligence of those it wishes to sell to for far too long. The movers and shakers who play this game watched as the game pieces refused to move and were, (gasp) surprised at the outcome in a way that Captain Renault would dismiss as ignorant.
For the last decade those who hold power have not been paying attention to how they have eroded trust in government, religious institutions, social institutions, and anything other institution you can think of. Instead they have congratulated themselves for finding new ways to remove truth, data, facts, and reality from the discussion. Anyone who dared speak a bit of truth, or lay out a fact, quickly found out that they were subject to the quickest game of "kill the messenger" that has ever existed. At least Greek dramatists gave the messenger a monologue. And we were left with no facts, no sense of a baseline for the truth, and no way to figure out who was right or wrong. Or so they thought.
The results of this election will only truly matter if there is some serious reconsideration of the game. That won't happen sadly, because too many fortunes depend on keeping the bubble from popping.
Back to the demographics, and a key point in my view. George W. Bush tried to hand the Republican party its future when he pushed for immigration reform during his tenure. The right refused to go along. Then Obama got elected, give early lip service to the issue until it mattered, and caught the Right by surprise during the campaign season. If you're a Republican you should sue for political malpractice because that was as predictable as day following night. But, at that point, the Right's modus operandi of opposing anything Obama mentioned had caught up to them in ways they hadn't realized and couldn't reverse, and the Democrats now own the Hispanic vote until a Rubio or a Bush comes along to challenge them. But they will have to fight through and over the idiociy that this contest's candidates and party foisted on them in their desperately misquided attempts to oust Obama. Self-deportation? Did that really get said in a debate? Yes, it did.
And that shows just how simply ridiciculous this game has become, and how simple-minded its players have morphed into. We reached a point where very few listened to ideas because we weren't given any, instead listening to those who fed into our own fears on both sides. Calling it an echo chamber or a mirror effect does disservice to both of those clichés. it was a giant circle jerk that turned into a circular firing squad.
Will anyone learn from this? Only those who I hope won't be blinded or blind-sided again. The solution to the issues at hand aren't easy, and have been made more challenging by those we elect to solve them. They've demonized opponents and ideas, and even made the essence of governing- "compromise", a dirty word. In turn, they've turned their own swords on themselves in some sort of weird hari-kari or seppukoo dance, that won't even have the honorable ending that those traditions cloak themselves in.
While that might sound just too damn depressing, the real hope here is that enough of us pawns in the game may have finally seen that those who want to lead us are as naked as emporer in a fable.