OPINION — The past week has provided an enlightening peek into the deteriorating psyche of the American body politic.
It started with the melodramatic partisan reactions to a canned speech made annually by the president to Congress. The yearly State of the Union address has become an exercise in exaggerated, predictable political theater.
All of the pomp and supposed power of the political class is on display with various government officials preening like peacocks and vying for seating that will afford them the highest visibility.
The script is the same regardless which party currently occupies the White House.
The president’s speech is typically written in bumper sticker slogans and the politicians of his party jump to their feet and applaud with a fervor that would have impressed Stalin’s strictest commissars. The counterpoint to this feigned enthusiasm generally consists of members of the opposition party sitting in dour silence, making angry faces to signal their disapproval.
Occasionally, certain guests are invited to make a cameo appearance so they may have the privilege of serving as political props who represent a particular policy that’s being highlighted. Credit is taken for anything positive that may have happened over the past year and political blame is assigned for whatever didn’t go right.
For all of this effort, nothing substantive is either said or done at the end of the evening. Even the token “response” from the opposition is canned and consists of partisan generalities.
Advocacy for the principles and practices of liberty is noticeably absent from the proceeding.
Pundits spend the next few days dissecting the speech, the reactions and the various public polls which inevitably follow the address. In terms of how our government operates, nothing actually changes.
Overreach continues as we are taxed and regulated relentlessly. The warfare/welfare state continues to demand that our leaders spend money they don’t have. We continue to be spied upon without due process and our remaining liberties shrink as government expands.
So why do so many continue to pretend that this is such an earth-shaking event? Why give our allegiance to a passion play that blatantly aggrandizes the political class?
Commentator Lew Rockwell wryly summarized why he no longer watches the address by noting, “I’ve seen enough of the fascist jumping jacks to last me a lifetime.”
Even those who aren’t so jaded would be wise to consider whether this fixation with the halls of power accomplishes anything worthwhile.
The other serious disconnect of the past week was seen in the various political reactions to the release of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act memo which alleges that a number of our national security agencies sought to influence the last general election.
As much as both parties are posturing over the release of this particular memo, the real story is found in the establishment’s reaction to the memo rather than its contents. The hysteria from both sides seems wildly disproportionate to the actual effect of such information becoming public.
All the stern warnings about the danger this revelation poses to national security seem to be deflections to divert our attention away from the danger it poses to their real goal – political security.
Why else would the intrusive surveillance powers of the FISA courts be reauthorized with overwhelming bipartisan support last month if they were a clear threat to the American people? The answer, of course, is that the memo stands to shine light on the behind-the-scenes machinations being carried out daily by the bureaucrats who comprise the American deep state.
These are the people who have the most to lose if the American public were to recognize that the greatest threat to each of us is posed by lawless bureaucracies rather than free individuals.
Caitlin Johnstone spells it out perfectly when she writes:
There is no denying the fact that plutocrats, intelligence agencies, defense agencies and the mass media are both powerful and unelected, and there is no denying the fact that there are many convoluted and often conflicting alliances between them. All that can be debated is the manner and extent to which this is happening.
At the root of the hype surrounding the State of the Union address and the hysteria regarding the FISA memo is an unhealthy deference toward those who claim to be our political saviors.
Those who place their deepest hopes for salvation in such man-made superstitions are destined to be disappointed when their promised deliverance ends up leaving them in deeper bondage.
The kinds of people and agencies that actively avoid the accountability that comes from doing their work in the light of day cannot be counted on to represent our best interests. They are highly skilled at pitting us against one another while consolidating power over all.
Political solutions won’t protect us from institutionalized evil. That can only be accomplished by individuals who fearlessly embrace and live up to moral truth.
Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events viewed through what he calls the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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