Rumors of Snubs. Blatant and incredibly rude snubs. Those nasty, can't-remove-the-stain kind of snub. Snubs of a snubbing, one-of-a-kind snub that make all prior snubs seem like the pistol whip compared to a terminal 12 gauge sawed-off shotgun wound - the one we're obviously unable to patch or heal. Then snubs become vainglorious stains of infinite snobbery. Snubbing transforms into the predominant national past time, because our elected, taxpayer-funded, sandbox wrestlers on the national payroll do it all the time. It could be any snub, any day. Snubs when you least expect a snub. Snubs by many a political scrub - a snub a dozen. A fly-by-night in the halls of Congress snub; that allegedly infamous Air Force One snub of former/publicly exiled House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) by Slick-&-Snicker Willy; when House Majority Whip and Texas pest Tom Delay (R-TX) snubbed Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and called him "Barney Fag"; most recently, Democrats managed a party-busting snub of the worst, conceivable kind: ignoring a White House lunch invitation. Bush Jr. gets snubbed, his spot ungraciously blown, his walk suddenly not so broomstick-ish in the spine. It's as if the Texas Rangers lost the World Series and every living person in Houston choked to death from ozone-layer depletion.
This is business as usual. That's just the way it is - "get used to it," they say. "Fine," we scream in mangled unison. So, whatever is the problem?
The problem is deeply embedded, pressed and sealed in public confidence. Lack of public confidence leads to a lack of desire for public service. What's the point of public service during these mired days of bruised confidence in the stars and stripes? Alexis De Tocqueville scrawled nearly 200 years ago: "Democratic laws generally tend to promote the welfare of the greatest possible number; for they emanate from the majority of the citizens, who are subject to error, but who cannot have an interest opposed to their own advantage."
But, what happens when public perception is convinced there is no "interest" to even consider? When rays of hope are hidden behind clouds of snub and deception? When the trumpets of tranquility are muffled by the bone crushing sounds of trash-compacting rhetoric, twisted into plastic bags of waste destined for the landfill?
Flipping the script somewhat to make a point, there is relief when national tragedies occur: when an FBI agent is caught holding soiled toilet paper and foreign money; when the rude reality of our global unpopularity forces us to finance a missile defense shield; when California needs candles to read the newspaper; when actor Robert Downey, Jr. can't get his &*%$ straight. Yes: that sounds bizarre. Yet, despite the massive and destructive ramifications for national security or social consciousness, despite the demoralizing implications and the heights of international embarrassment reached, it proves much deeper than a tear-jerking episode of "Ally McBeal."
Enter the world of politics. For example: the arrival of suspected Cold War double-crosser Robert P. Hanssen was an exhilarating jump into the neighborhood pool. Life returned to its normal course and Earth retained its axial placement. At last: there were more important matters at stake. We momentarily escaped the cavernous sump of disputed election results; pre-mature presidential pardons; threats of post-impeachment imposed double-jeopardy; hours upon hours of partisan-motivated spin; and journalistic babble about everything surreptitiously and infamously Bill Clinton that it made the National Enquirer look … credible?
But few souls dare to brave a squared, in-the-face peek at the terrifyingly dismal state of superpower politics, a coming catastrophe of dangerous, global proportions. Claims of representation are simply veils hiding the appetites of political ego and glory; preserving party dominance and platform become the foremost priority as public needs are placed between backburners. The problem with this ongoing, tired, whiny debate between left and right is that it becomes obsessed with itself like a Destiny's Child re-mix, obsessed with one outdoing the other - and less moved by that enchanting, Fantasy Island dialogue towards compromise and productivity. Democracy, instead, becomes the chained beast of Sunday talk shows, polls, sound bites and tele-prompters. What is overlooked and conveniently neglected is lack of representation, thereby creating an atmosphere of resentment, distrust and, ultimately, fear.
There must always be the potential for national self-examination - an urgent and laborious meditation concerning public pride, public safety, and public unity. It presents the opportunity for all to rally behind a common theme of patriotism and a rigid thread of civic solidarity. Themes presently missing from the general social fabric. With the future now here, there is a desperate need to grasp the fresh and unprecedented. The need to challenge the tedium of a stalled world dominated by the repeated, devastating emergence of stale thought lacking true democratic passion and direction. Ideas must formulate beyond the infant perception of what sounds good. Ideas must now somehow work. In order for ideas to produce the tangible results required, they must to some extent contribute to the common good.
Have a comment or response, email C.D. Ellison at firstname.lastname@example.org