politics as performance art

Every time I see someone post a picture of their ballot, I’m reminded of how shallow politics have become, how they’re as much a performance as they are a representation of our personal values. No one benefits from seeing your ballot, that you voted for Trump or Clinton, but you get to feel a part of something. Whether it’s a group that you want to be included in or one you’re choosing to be excluded from.

There’s a powerful draw to performing and receiving affirmation–which everyone does through likes and emoticons and dope memes–or even receiving antagonism. We get high on it. Or at least those of us who enjoy arguing on the internet. Or, if not enjoy, can’t help themselves from arguing on the internet.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I suppose. It makes sense that a nonstop news cycle of nonsense combined with the nonstop sharing narcissism of social media would collaborate in making politics annoying, shallow, pointless, and callous. We’ve turned the presidential election into a sideshow. Despite what everyone’s saying, this is not something new that Trump brought. We’ve been racing towards this celebritization of politicians for decades, but we’ve been turning it into a reality show since Bush ran against Clinton, and then especially when a different Bush ran against Gore, and then it reached peak–or so we thought–nonsense when Haircut Romney ran against Obama.

But now we’re taking that national sideshow and making it personal, putting it on display like baboons in heat, so that everyone can see how we’re taking part in the freakshow that is american politics.

Regardless of who wins on Tuesday, we’ll only see more of this. I honestly think this is the most annoying, toxic, and debilitating election I’ve ever witnessed, and every single one going forward is going to be worse, more annoying, more toxic, and more philosophically crushing than this one.

That’s not even to mention the existential threat both candidates represent. One is a walking disaster flailing in all directions and the other is a highly targeted typhoon. Regardless of who wins, a lot of people will suffer both in the US and abroad, but especially in impoverished nations across the world.

That being said, I honestly don’t care who you vote for. I do find it astounding that people would vote for Trump, but I also think the only reason Clinton seems preferable is because Trump is a paralyzing nightmare that becomes more ridiculous with every day that goes by.

We’ve all made politics stupid and worthless. We can’t even have meaningful conversations about politics at this point.

But maybe the funniest thing about all this is that people are finally paying attention to wikileaks and caring about what they publish. No one cared about the previous six years of publications that reveal modern imperialism and all its catastrophic consequences. What will be funnier is when they stop paying attention come November 9th.

Or maybe the funniest thing is that Democrats are universally onboard with going to war with Russia due to the absence of evidence. I’d make comparisons to Rumsfeld and Bush, but that would be too on the nose. I’d even mention how Obama has done more for peace between our two nations than maybe any previous president, but that would contradict the new party platform–which Obama ridiculed Haircut Romney for in 2012–of MyCarthyism. Especially because the US has no interest in actually fighting a nation that could conceivably fight back, but it’s useful to have a boogeyman, and Putin’s an easy target. At least after you’ve knocked out guys like Gaddafi and Husein and Bin Laden. But especially when you have the lack of critical thinking that comes when you treat political parties the same way you treat professional sport teams.

Anyrate, we’ve been ruining the planet for a long time, ruining other nations for even longer, but for a few decades we’ve been really trying to ruin our own nation, and we are seeing it play out in front of our screens in the most obscene ways imaginable. “A racist rapist pedophile billionaire and a war criminal walk into a bar” would be the beginning of an awful joke, but it’s a terrifyingly accurate way to frame our national discourse.

But this is publicly funded performance art. It’s the last breath of our dying empire, but first it flails its crippled limbs through the middle east, displacing and destroying millions of lives for generations to come.

I suppose we’ve done a swell job.


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