I returned home a few nights ago from teaching a late class to find my son asleep on the couch. He fell asleep with the t.v. on. By the time I got home, one of those absurd late-night infomercials was playing. I looked at it only long enough to determine that it featured a hip-looking young man explaining to an older, supposedly verily impressed host how he (the hip young man) has made “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in just a few months by investing in real-estate. (Note that the year is 2011!)
And this hip young man – he looked so earnest! – was eager to share with every viewer his fail-proof secret of success. “If I can do it, you can too!” the hip young man assured the no-doubt rapt and grateful audience out there in late-night tv land.
So it dawned on me. Infomercials are the closest phenomenon that the private-sector offers to politics. Fraudulent clowns, skilled at lying, promise gullible audiences something for nothing.
The difference, of course – and it makes all the difference – is that no one is forced to buy (either figuratively or literally) whatever it is the infomercial clowns are selling. And those of us who don’t buy these clowns’ offerings aren’t forced nevertheless to suffer the consequences of the fact that large numbers of our fellow citizens do consistently, even eagerly, fall for the idiotic claims and promises and assurances offered by these greedy imposters posing as our friends.
At the very least, it’s a regrettable fact that all of us have much of our lives ‘governed’ by people who watch infomercials. Those viewers vote. And so politicians obviously appeal to these fools for their votes. And everyone suffers from the resulting absurdities that emerge as “public policy.”
What a joke politics is.