America has countless problems ranging from out of control spending to an opioid epidemic to gun, race, and freedom of religion issues. As serious as these issues and more like them are, it pales in comparison to a national affliction that has gripped the nation. It is severe and affects every one of us. No, it isn’t climate change. No, it isn’t race relations. It’s that America has become it’s own sad reality show.
“Reality” shows, including the quotations because we all know the truth about how real they are, reign supreme as undisputed kings of television. The evidence is in the ratings – hundreds of these shows dominated television programming and 56.4 percent of the ten most popular primetime programs were reality shows. Despite our constant moaning about it, if we weren’t tuning in, they wouldn’t get produced. Period. Despite mocking reality programming for its choreographed drama, fixation on petty differences, and almost comical interpersonal relationships, countless Americans are drawn to it.
Reality Television, D.C. Style
Now enter the current state of American politics. The reality show atmosphere surrounding the antics in Washington has been in the making for decades now. The circus that was the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal began a disheartening trend of high drama in the nation’s capital. Only the terror attacks of 9/11 seemed to stop the march of drama-laced buffoonery. It didn’t last long.
Donald Trump’s assumption of the presidency was the final push to make this country lose its mind. The fact that the former business mogul hosted a reality television show only makes the metaphor more poignant. Politicians in Washington have abandoned the Republic and the notion of legislating for the greater good – it is now a high-drama competition to win for the sake of winning. It is Republicans versus Democrats as if they were two tribes competing on Survivor, and the media is eating it up.
The Media-Russia Bromance
Exhibit one is the almost non-stop coverage of “Russian collusion” by Trump or members of his campaign team and administration. It has become a media obsession and obsession for even casual Trump-haters. The trumpets blare in Congress and on CNN despite no factual evidence to support it and no investigation of the president himself.
It’s a ratings winner. Look no further than the viral video (if proven authentic) of a CNN reporter admitting as much. It’s also talking points for a full half of the country who are avowed Trump-haters and want to believe this is the path to impeachment. Their goal, shared by many in the mainstream media, is to remove what they feel is a cancer from office.
The scary truth is that most Americans don’t care deeply about Russian interference (even though they should). The allegations are being treated as a political football to be kicked around instead of the national security and election integrity issues that they are. Nobody wants a foreign power meddling in our elections, and most Americans feel an inquiry into them is warranted.
What we are seeing is far beyond that. President Trump was right to call it a witch hunt, just as insinuations that President Obama could and should have done more during campaign season after the CIA briefed him are a prime example of Monday-morning quarterbacking. It was a no-win situation.
Political Couch Potatoes Watching an American Reality Show
And it is all part of the game they are playing. As both sides beat each other up in front of the camera like this was Big Brother, the people are left to wonder what will happen to their healthcare, how much will groceries cost, what education with their children get…you know, the things in life that matter.
I don’t expect things to get better in Washington. Like reality shows on television, they are only aired because people are watching. Trump-bashing has become ratings gold for some (it probably saved Stephen Colbert’s run on the Late Show), and politicians will be eager to catch their share of the magic. If Hillary Clinton had won in November, the flap would center around her email server, or even the Seth Rich investigation. No party is immune from contributing to the political circus.
We have entered a new era of politics, and we might not like what our nation has become when we emerge on the other side. So, sit back and enjoy your time watching the Real Politicians of Washington. So long as we tune in and fail to be vocal in demanding healthy change, the American people are only feeding the reality show beast that America has become.
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