Mark wonders why there is so much hatred and if America is beyond saving.
“Holy hyper-partisanship Batman! Our democracy is seriously dysfunctional and we’re in danger of losing our nation because our system is broken. Can you fix it Batman?”
It’s that time again folks. It occurs every four years. The nation looks for someone we can believe in….a superhero that can heal the unprecedented level of political animosity that’s turned us into warring tribes rather than united Americans who go about their lives in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
Enter the political candidates. This time it’s Trump and Biden. Different people saying the same things every four years. Mostly bullshit by the way and I confess that, I too, like many of you, tend to throw caution to the wind and get sucked into the belief that there is someone out there who can heal the polarization that has become America’s Achilles heel. The usual promise is to unite us; to bring the warring factions together because, well, only they have some kind of superpower that the other candidate doesn’t. And we find ourselves hopeful yet again.
Cars don’t kill people…..Drivers kill people. Makes sense. So much sense that in the 1960’s when America was experiencing an epidemic of deaths from car accidents, especially among younger men, the government realised that it couldn’t ban people from driving, nor could they ban the sale of cars; so they decided to invest significant resources in trying to make cars safer.
In England we have a saying for a person or a group who are speaking or acting in a nonsensical and ridiculous way. We call it ‘a load of bollocks’. That expression was sadly presented in technicolor glory by a government body in British Columbia who are investigating whether beauty salons broke the law because they refused to wax the testicles of a transgender man. Seriously, the government is spending tax-payers money on this investigation because they think the transgender man may have had his human rights violated!
Not content with predicting the imminent self-mutilation and demise of Britain, mainstream media in America and across Europe is trying to further sabotage the country by tarring Boris with the Trump brush.
On a superficial level it is fair to say that they both have a mop of blond mane, although it should be noted that while Trump’s comb over is carefully manicured, Boris deliberately dishevels his hair before going on camera. They also share a history of being profligate philanderers, of being loose with the truth (unfortunately a common mark among many politicians these days) and of being the preferred anti-establishment candidate.
On a more serious level, it is also true that both engage in the dangerous habit of race baiting; although while Trump has few ‘get out of jail cards’ to play on this accusation, Boris can legitimately claim to being a successful satirical writer and commentator. Jousting in verbal imagery like referring to the niqab as a “letterbox”, joyous excitable African children welcoming the Queen as “smiling piccaninnies” and frequenters of a notorious London homosexual nightclub as “tank-topped bum boys is clearly designed to engage readers rather than deliberately offend. (Although more judicious readers will note Johnson goes on to say that he will defend anyone's right to dress how they wish, and its only malicious virtue signaling propagandists who quote out of context). That said, it is unwise and irresponsible to indulge in a similar lexicon when also being paid to be an elected politician. To his credit, since being elected PM Johnson has shown his diversity credentials. More of that later.
Sitting under the “rockets’ red glare” on July 4th, witnessing the patriotism and pride of all Americans, irrespective of their political affiliation, I could not help but puzzle over the general animus and disdain that much of the American mainstream media and academia hold for Brexit.
How could a country forged in the flame of Independence, with a pertinacious commitment to be a united nation of “free and independent States”, be so dismissive of another united nation’s democratic decision to take back control of its own destiny?
The latest op-ed in the New York Times declares that the “United Kingdom has gone mad….and can’t even decide how to kill itself”. On the screens of this very journal, a regular essayist declares that Brexit “has been calamitous for the economy”. These allegations are worse than unsubstantiated hyperbole, they are the sort of ‘fake news’ that Trump trades in.