On the EDge: Of circus geeks and sideshow freaks

Image courtesy Pixabay, St. George News

OPINION — The preponderance of circus geeks and sideshow freaks and the people who egg them on grows increasingly disturbing.

We’ve experienced some fairly bizarre things in our nation’s history, but, honestly? Things are reeling desperately out of control.

I mean this past week alone we have seen somebody credited with enough intellect to warrant a White House appointment openly swear to defy a federal subpoena; an inept flak puppet pretty much confirm an extramarital affair by the president while trying to squelch the story; and, a bunch of fanatics willing to spend millions upon millions of dollars to fight a state legislature that thinks it’s a bad idea to sell rifles and shotguns to those between 18 and 21 had the audacity to institute a three-day waiting period on purchasing all guns and placed an outright ban on bumper stocks that can virtually turn a semi-automatic weapon into full-auto output.

The paucity of intellect is frightening as there is no lack of audience cheering these people from the exasperatingly vocal cheerleaders on the sidelines.

One can only imagine how many chicken heads will be bitten off if and when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets with President Donald Trump.

I’m not quite sure what will come of this proposed summit. Perhaps Kim is truly interested in raising his stock in world standing by being recognized by Trump. Perhaps he wants a phone number for porn actress Stormy Daniels. No matter what, he will surely want to walk away from this meeting, again, if it ever takes place, with something in hand.

How the art of this deal will be negotiated is anybody’s guess. I suspect both sides will come away claiming a win. Putting it into World Wrestling Entertainment terms our president would be familiar with, the best we can hope for is a loser-leaves-town cage match that results in a draw, sending both of these guys forever into the shadows.

That won’t, of course, be satisfactory to the unwashed masses who smell blood in the water and have reached a degree of rabid frenzy that was set to boiling on Nov. 8, 2016, when the popular vote was lost, but a win in the Electoral College was, somehow, pulled off.

Ever since, their volume has risen to decibels only attained during a space shuttle launch, 1-ton TNT bomb explosion or rock concert by The Who.

Just take a look at our most accurate and current gauge of public demeanor – social media, which includes not only Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, but the uncivil nature of so many comments posted on stories or Facebook links to stories in today’s media, regardless of their being expressions from the right or left.

There is, of course, the serial madness of those who like to hit the caps lock button and spew, whether in madman bursts of “BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!,” which only works if you are writing dialog for The Joker in a Batman comic book, to those with serious hang-ups who make not-so-vague sexual references laced with homophobic or racial slurs. They feel free to type this garbage that they would never say to another person if they met face-to-face.

There are the trolls who like to stalk anonymously, using screen names to hide their identity. Not much courage there, particularly when addressing a writer who signs his or her work. Sometimes these comments have no connection to the post but are, instead, attacks on somebody they have never met, whose work they revile just because. They often claim to have never read the piece they are ripping to shreds, but odds are, they have.

Then, there’s the closed-mindedness of just refusing to believe anything with an opposing or, perhaps, challenging point of view, shouting it down with “FAKE NEWS!” or a demeaning nickname for whoever posted the piece. We all pretty well know who started all this business, why they did it, where, when, how, why and for what reasons. To be sure, there is fake news out there. Those who scream about it the loudest, however, are most responsible for creating and spreading it.

This all makes it incredibly difficult to negotiate paths of rational talk.

We talk more readily today through scathing Twitter posts and specious Facebook memes. I cannot recall exactly how many times I have seen an innocent post by a friend turn into a mudslinging, name-calling free-for-all. I have seen, personally, how people drop email bombs, then become offended if you dare to respond whether with the intent to clarify or defend oneself. It is not beyond reason to take issue with somebody who bends your ear about the freedom to speak freely, laws to govern equally for all American citizens and the right to political views, religious expressions and justice for all, except, of course, when they go on to talk about trying to have you fired and remove your freedom to speak freely, and your right to political views, religious expressions and justice, or prattle on about how you are “dangerous to the people.”

Therein lies the problem.

You see, nobody has a discussion any more.

It’s all a series of monologues. Any attempt at dialogue is shot down in a heartbeat.

Not many people listen any more. They are too busy trying to find the most cutting meme or come up with the cleverest putdown.

Not many people ask questions any more. They don’t have to because there are plenty of website or internet blurbs and sputters to support even the most inane argument. If they can’t find one, they create one. It feeds the ego.

And the result, sadly, is that truth becomes the victim because things like facts and history have little meaning, relegating us to a destabilizing state of chaos.

The government hasn’t been in such a state of disarray since March 30, 1981, when some punk pumped a bullet into President Ronald Reagan, leaving the White House in shambles.

The vice president was in Texas, the Cabinet was in an arm wrestling match trying to ensure that the government was still functioning as it should and even though then Secretary of State Alexander Haig made his famous TV pronouncement of “I am in charge here,” nobody really was.

The same could be said of the situation today, except for the very vocal minority that insists that it has a handle on it all whether by wielding its power to enhance its bullying presence online or to fuel its deleterious attacks on truth and decency.

Yes, the circus has come to town.

Now, if we could only send it on its merry way, chicken bones and all.

No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Death Valley March 13, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Elect a clown, expect a circus.
    I can’t wait to VOTE in midterms. The circus stops come November.

    • Striker4 March 14, 2018 at 6:06 am

      Blah blah blah yeah whatever blah blah blah

      • Death Valley March 14, 2018 at 7:54 am

        You “blah blah” and “yeah whatever” all you want.
        Get ready for the huge set of blue waves coming in.
        I hope you know how to swim because I guarantee you don’t know how to surf.

  • Lastdays March 13, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Actually, the circus came to town when Obama was elected, It’s just way more entertaining now. Especially the way Trump is playing everyone to amuse himself with their reactions to it. In the meantime, he’s accomplishing more success in our nation than anyone could have imagined.
    Everyone was lulled into a false sense of reality when Obama was around, now Trump has scrambled most of their brains in such a way the press can’t even function anymore.
    It’s really quite entertaining to watch.
    Thanks Trump.

    • Death Valley March 13, 2018 at 9:49 am

      “he’s accomplishing more success in our nation than anyone could have imagined.”

      Feel free to list his accomplishments so we can all ‘imagine’ that you know what the h e l l you’re talking about.
      He hasn’t done a thing and makes this country look like a joke. At least Obama was presidential. Trump is a man-child masquerading as a “stable genius” when isn’t even qualified to be a stable boy.

      • No Filter March 13, 2018 at 11:38 am

        Trump was presidential over the weekend, didn’t you see his impersonation at his rally in Pennsylvania.

    • bikeandfish March 13, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      The press is still functioning despite the anti-MSM talking points. There is proof that plenty of Americans across the political spectrum had a firm grip on reality under Obama’s tenure. Though we may agree that Trump may be playing the class clown as a new form of bread and circuses that creates chaos to obfuscate instead of fostering docility. But that’s just a guess and it’s just as likely that he’s incompetent and lacks self control, which we have plenty of historic evidence of.

  • desertgirl March 13, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Ed, the headline describes the neo communist Democratic Party. Congrats for nothing and getting your participation award from the America haters.

    • Death Valley March 13, 2018 at 9:51 am

      “neo communist Democratic Party”
      Spoken like typical Utard trash. Be proud, sweetie.

    • theone March 13, 2018 at 10:46 am

      You wouldn’t know communism if it stood directly in front of you. Oh wait, you voted for a communist, fascist Hitler like piece of …* didn’t you desertrat?

      * Ed. ellipsis added

    • No Filter March 13, 2018 at 11:43 am

      You have some deep rooted issues, maybe you should get out of your house and take a vacation to see what is happening outside your narrow view. There is more to life than Fox news and and right wing radio shows.

  • Utahguns March 13, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Trump is rebuilding a run down, corrupt government that the liberals constructed over the last 25 years.

  • No Filter March 13, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Although I can see you are addressing the right wing people who comment on the STGnews website, specifically your columns, I am not immune to your criticism. I do the same to the right wing columnists. It is easy to speak your voice without people being able to look you in the eyes about your opinion. I try to use facts in my comments, but sometimes my emotions get the best of me. Especially when some of these people will use the “fake news” defense to indisputable facts. Trump is a bad president and is bad for the world. The only way to fix it is to vote in the midterms and in 2020 if we make it that far. Maybe we will get lucky and Robert Mueller will find something to get him out of the office, because even Mike Pence is looking good at this point in history.

  • Real Life March 13, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    I am not a Trump fan, but how can you rip the guy for meeting with Kim? At least it seems he will try to accomplish a peaceful outcome. I mean how did that meeting go with Obama and Kim? Oh, that’s right, Obama turned his head and just hoped the problem would go away.

    • bikeandfish March 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      I agree we don’t know how the meeting will go and that maybe his exaggerated “peace through strength” approach might be paying off. Time will tell. On the other hand, Obama didn’t just turn “his head and just hoped the problem would go away”. There are different approaches to foreign policy but I don’t think we’ve had an administration that did nothing in regards to NK. Obama used sanctions, worse after 2016 missile tests, and also espionage, especially targeted cyber attacks on NK’s weapons and programs. There has been plenty of reporting on this. And at the end of the day, if we are gonna give Trump credit for Twitter “diplomacy” than Obama surely gets credit for more traditional means.

  • John March 13, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    More MSM propaganda from the misguided brainwashed left..hahahahaha! What a bunch of mental midgets, just like their leader, special ed

    • Striker4 March 14, 2018 at 6:08 am

      Oh oh John got his pretty pink panties ruffled again

  • bikeandfish March 13, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    I have to say, this piece seems highly exaggerated even for Ed’s writing. I think it relies on rose colored glasses about the past to draw judgement on current political difficulties. I’ve never seen much evidence that political discourse in this country was anything but tense and contentious especially away from our traditional places of breaking bread and civilly discussing difference. I don’t think its fair to draw much analysis from social media as a reflection of society as a whole, especially given bots designed to inflame difference. Drawing on anecdotes, as most here are including Ed, its fair to highlight how many in my community have diverse political views yet regularly have meaningful dialog, including questions. And I actually see the same on internet forums despite the prevalence of Trolls. Things definitely get rowdy at times on the internet but is that really a shock when say the pundits on this site disparage those they disagree with as rednecks (Ed), savages (Bryan), etc? Which goes to show that inflammatory rhetoric isn’t limited to the anonymous hordes on the internet. Politics has always provoked passionate and over the line speech. But I’m skeptical that is the average, underlying standard of this country. I continue to see otherwise and I’m not ready to submit to that pessimistic attitude.

  • 42214 March 13, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    I’m waiting for Trump to use a cigar on a young intern in the oval office, then we’re talking about a circus. Of course, when you look at Hillary, it’s hard to blame Bill.

  • commonsense March 13, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    You pay lip service to free speech but liberal academic institutions bar any audience to moderate and conservative ideas. You love diversity as long as it does not include white male Christian moderates. You use racism to counter any talk of immigration reform or border security or sanctuary of criminals.

    The circus is up and running and the ringmaster is liberal ideology and the freak shows are the hateful Maxine Waters, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

    • bikeandfish March 13, 2018 at 11:02 pm

      Its relatively rare for university’s to outright ban conservative speakers, especially moderate ones. That said, antifa like organizations have made a mess of several university speaking engagements and University’s haven’t solved the security issue in a productive, equitable way. But the details matter, as the two biggest names in the last couple years are not really moderate, ie Milo Y and Ben Shapiro. Other figures like Anne Coulter aren’t moderate either. The biggest confrontations have come when these provocateurs come to town and the aforementioned antifa agitators respond. Its a mess and sadly only the agitators and provocateurs really seem to benefit.

      But also to be fair similar folks on the left have been cancelled, like Bill Maher, who is nothing more than a self-important left wing provocateur. It hasn’t been as common the two years but it does happen.

      Once again, not being given unearned privilege and dominance is not the same as denying equality to white men. Its a red herring and simply untrue to make the claims you have.

      Yes, there is a way to talk about immigration and border control without always being about racism. Some pundits on the left fail that test. But make no mistake, Trump is not a moderate who handles the conversation well. He has engaged in hideous, xenophobic rhetoric that relies on racist tropes. See Steve Bannon et al. There is a difference between national security and ethno-nationalism. They didn’t use the “America First” slogan on accident, they knew its historic, white supremacist roots and the prejudice it imbues.

      Trumpism owns the current circus. I mean after the publication of Ed’s piece today, Trump fired Sec. of State Rex Tillerson overbl twitter. Trump is very much the Ringmaster of this dumpster fire.

  • dodgers March 14, 2018 at 7:07 am

    Speaking of Circus Freaks and Sideshow Freaks, be sure to include that bitter old woman called Hillary Clinton. Also include Louis Farrakhan and his followers, the epitome of hatred. There are many other swamp creatures as well, fighting tooth and nail the destruction of their habitat. Finally, HOPE and CHANGE.

  • commonsense March 14, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Trump demands a high standard and loyalty. His high profile appointments will not alway conform to the cleansing needed in Washington politics. It’s hard to purge entrenched vermin but the train moves forward pushing away the carnage.

  • mctrialsguy March 14, 2018 at 11:56 am

    That clown picture fits you Ed.

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