Terry H. Schwadron
Aug. 16, 2022
I keep running into people who don’t want to hear about politics, Donald Trump’s latest fights with the Justice Department, or most current public affairs conflicts outside of baseball.
Among my circles, either these are people seeking conflict-free silence from anything involving Republicans and Democrats or they basically want all the legal maneuvers involving what they recognize as Trump’s Big Steal, classified document theft, misogyny and grift just to come to an end, with appropriate legal accountability for bad behavior in personal, business, and presidential roles.
I suppose there are people just as tired on the MAGA front about hearing about yet another assault from one government agency or another over what they see as a fight to return The Former Guy to presidential glory.
It’s all become too routine and too exhausting.
In the last days, we’re seeing a flood of media coverage about growing divisions even among Republicans themselves, calling on more extreme voices to moderate the anti-FBI, anti-Justice Department tirade enough to consider the actual words of explanation and the continuing unfolding of fact that show Trump and his inner circle in growing danger of facing criminal charges.
Even 100 days before a national election, the August heat and the constanly changing excuses for hoarding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago are enough to just reflect the fact that people don’t want to hear this endless debate. Wait, there are more Jan. 6 hearings next month, and debates among candidates who don’t even agree on what election rules mean.
For all sides, perhaps, they want to pay attention only will when there is action, they say.
What Can We Do?
Besides, they argue, none of us can do anything about the outcome anyway, and we are stuck in a dividing political division that has no end in sight.
That’s the rub here. Pay attention to the growing civil — and uncivil discord — and feel depressed about the direction of the country, the insistence of the government to get wrapped up in process, and never-ending streams of propaganda. Or don’t pay attention in the name of daily serenity and wake up sometime later to find out that everything about politics has moved way beyond what you had considered acceptable limits.
There is a price to serenity.
In Arizona, for example, the advancement of 2020 election deniers as official Republican candidates for statewide offices has meant they “openly espouse hostility not just to democratic principles but, increasingly, to the word ‘democracy’ itself,” notes The New York Times in an article exploring the success of the MAGA movement.
That couldn’t be what Arizonans really have in mind, could it?
From the Mar-a-Lago episodes, constant refrains that there were no documents and there was a “raid” have given way to new flirtations with magic incantations in the former White House to offer blanket protection for anything that Trump had absconded with in his exit. Again, defend what you will, but ask us to accept a new version of truth daily, however inane or irrelevant?
Along with anniversary reminiscences of a poorly organized, chaotic Afghan withdrawal by the Joe Biden government, the daily mess of making sense of our immigration policies and continuing high prices at the supermarket despite all efforts to bring prices down just make people want to tune out.
Does It Matter?
Even if Trump himself is out of the picture one way or another, there are inheritors now in Arizona, Michigan and other states that want to toss out democratic elections, close down immigration and roll back any incipient moves that Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have made in addressing tax fairness, climate investment and lowering of drug prices.
Even if every Democrat in place left the stage, there would still be racism, corporate greed, problems in policing, rising homelessness and mental illness, disease and hunger and protection of what we consider our most basic liberties.
There is something apparently very comforting to say someone else should solve all the problems, and that at base, the problem is around politicians who talk endlessly but cannot solve the stuff that most bothers us.
The only valid explanation for putting up with the raw upset over daily partisan attacks is that Americans remain too willing to accept the status quo, and fear change because it requires them to do something besides shoot off their mouths on social media.
In our more rational moments, we all understand that Washington is not some isolated beast that operates on its own without our vigilance, campaign contributions and voices. A working system, even with these two political parties, even with choices between old white men running for president, even with the dominance of message over substance, still requires our attention and participation.
We, even those of us who normally will take a strong position on various public policies, clearly are saying we are tired of hearing the constant repetition of stupid slogans that cite incorrect assertions of fact.
We all seem to need a vacation from this hyper-politicized routine, but mostly to recharge and demand better of our leadership.