January 19, 2021

The Political Anthill

Posted on 11. Apr, 2011 by Administrator in Politics

I’m really tired of riding this endless carousel we call politics. It’s high time we start calling it what it really is… a ginormously large industry – one that’s populated by marionettes, puppet masters and voyeurs (some would say parasites) drawing their paychecks by ‘re-gifting’ information supplied by the politicians at the top of the anthill in Washington, DC.

On the surface, our politicians may look like elected officials, but in fact they’re the dynamo that powers a powerful media industry and profit centers for TV networks, newspapers and bloggers.

These willing co-conspirators report, parse and examine politicians’ every utterance with the zeal of a coroner doing a celebrity autopsy. Just when you think they’re done reporting, they hand off the microphone, camera and reporter’s notebook to others who re-analyze and often repeat the same words and phrases we just heard from those ‘on the scene.’

Commenting in painstaking detail, the gaggle of media worker ants carry these morsels back to the anthill of special guest panelists for further inspection, consumption and regurgitation.

American politics is an anthill, beehive and spider’s web all rolled into one.

The principal activity of every creature is survival – the same with politicians. Staying out of the way of predators and avoiding adversity takes a lot of time, and a fair amount of them spend more than their fair share of time doing so – all on our dime. Work is organized around survival. Sleep patterns are determined by it. Alliances are made and enemies are identified using our hard-wired survival instinct.

Our politicians are the ultimate survivors. They are also gold-spinners, providing fodder for the media machine that produces revenue from churning out their words 24/7. Like the spider spinning its intricate home, the web is also a killing field where unsuspecting creatures get caught up and lose their lives. Politics is the same way. We get lost in sound bites, caught up in the moment, mesmerized by candidates oozing lofty phrases and lulled into a false sense of security. The more we see and hear, the more we want to see and hear. We’ve become addicted to social media that has become our anthill, hive and web. We’re on a daily search for ‘food,’ failing to see that we’ve become the fuel for the purveyors of the information who use our addiction against us. Our appetite cannot be satiated and that creates unrealistic expectations and unsustainable demands for more…so the politicians ratchet up the rhetoric and create a few more new problems that will keep the industry occupied for yet another day, week, month or even year!

If we cannot eliminate this industry, then we darn well ought to be making it work for we, the people, especially when our national debt clock is ticking faster than a speeding bullet. Take the upcoming presidential election campaign, for example. It’s rumored that well over a billion dollars will be spent in 2012 on winning a $400,000 a year job. Talk about audacity at a time when America is looking back with fondness at the recession of 1982 as the good times!

Here’s one solution to consider… let’s reverse the trend of obscenely excessive political campaigns and begin to balance our budget simultaneously by levying a 20% tax on all campaign spending that exceeds $50 million for a presidential campaign. Earmark all the revenues collected to pay down the national debt. While we’re at it we might attach a surcharge on politicians for excessive campaign blathering. We could use that money for supporting renewable energy like the building of windmills, for example. That way we clean up the environment that they helped sully. Good wind from bad wind. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Stephan Helgesen is a former diplomat and Honorary German Consul in New Mexico. He is also CEO of Second Opinion Marketing & Communications, a high-tech consulting company in Albuquerque.

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