OUR NATIONAL DISCONTENT
On January 6th, it took me about one hour of watching the ‘show’ that day to predict the likely results when the Justice Department wheels began to slowly turn and then begin to spin. I predicted that afternoon, that a thousand people would eventually be hunted down, charged, tried, and then punished in all manner of ways. So far, the count today is approximately 650 perpetrators. Three-fifty to go to meet my expectations…based upon long association with the real wheels of government. You do not attack the 800, or so, most powerful people on earth and walk away unscathed. The very top leaders will likely never be punished, although those leaders look to be so miserable in life that the only word that might seem to properly be applied to their continued existence is ‘purgatory.’ There will never be another attempted coup like that one. Surprise and shock made that first one partially work. None of that will ever occur again unless another leader so damaged and mentally ill is elected by the people. The grim reaper of partisan politics, the applications of the law, and more are still coming for the leaders of that four-year running nightmare. Again, as was so easy to predict almost a year ago.
Most of the country did not agree with how Trump handled his presidency, and even more approve less now. Most of the country does not agree with how Biden is running the country either. The same was true of Bush and Obama’s tours of national duty. The nation, and in a big way because of the mass media and the Internet, holds the tippy top of leadership responsible for things that happen wherein, in reality, the leaders have little or no influence at all. Trump could spur the rioters on in order to help create chaos and a potential nightmare on January 6th, but he had little to do with the results. The same is true with Biden and the USA departure from Afghanistan. What happens on the ground, at home and out in the world, and how all that is handled on-site is less the provenance of the leaders of countries (even the USA) than most of the public will, or would, believe.
The motive factor, getting the attention of world leaders, has changed, and changed rapidly over the last twenty years. What has happened with growth of the vast communications systems today has resulted in the quest and response to the world ‘branding.’ What is paid attention to by our leaders is what comes to their attention. That used to be the function of staff, the vastly smaller media of times gone by. Our leaders seek attention and then respond to it in others and in circumstance that generates it. The branding of today, that word used to describe attention, is not controlled by staff or minions of any sort. It’s controlled by a set of online social communities, hugely popular pundits, anchors on television, and by mythologies driven by producers and directors who are intent only upon building their own branding.
Our national discontent is a functional result of our near universal feelings that we lack a sufficiency of branding. People do not know us, demonstrate adoration, or even recognition, except to those of us, those very rare creatures, who somehow are able to get so much branding success that they can no longer function in normal society. The royal family in Great Briton is a perfect example.
The stories that come out of ‘family’ life over in that small collection of over-branded humans have recently revealed lives of lonely misery and simply rotten conduct when it comes to their dealing with either the public or one another. What is America to do with a discontent that it is almost totally unaware of? An America that continues to rush after the pursuit of ever more attention and fame, having no idea that once such a ‘branding’ threshold is reached there is little likelihood of ever evading the awful results of too much continuous attention or being able to withdraw from it.