Monday Musings: Walking off Set

I know I’m not American, but I consume so much of its news and culture that I can’t help feel like I am. Or at least feel for all the good people there as I watch from the comfort of my own non-collapsing country. 

I feel sorry, I gasp, I cheer, I agonize.  I feel like I’m watching a reality tv show, with the star as the villain who is running America like his failed businesses. Except it’s less The Apprentice and more Survivor. 

If you told me America would be in this spot three years ago, I would in fact be incredibly surprised. I would assume that the most incompetent, immoral, impeachable president on record would have been removed by now for [pick your reason]. We the viewers can’t see the behind-the-scenes activity that props him up and got him there in the first place, but it must be pretty grim.  I can’t imagine the angst I would feel if I actually lived there. But I also can’t imagine a circumstance where I would stay there willingly.

So WHY DO PEOPLE STAY? Why do the many strong, intelligent, impressive people who are free to emigrate somewhere that doesn’t require them to sacrifice their lives on the altar of the Dow, choose to remain in this game that clearly is rigged against them? I don’t get it.

They must be blindly loyal, I think; or maybe optimists. But if he gets another term, I doubt there will be a mass exodus or anything. They will stay and continue their work.

One of the things I initially cheered for as a win were all the empty seats at Trump’s Coronavirus “press briefings” from the reporters not bothering to attend due to lack of actual news.  Good, don’t give him an audience. Narcissists hate being ignored.  Then I started seeing clips circulating of the few reporters who stay and persist in needling him with the questions his preferred reporters would never ask. They know they aren’t there for news, but rather to play Trump at his own game. They know there’s nothing he is more sensitive to than being challenged by an intelligent woman, so the stations send their best players.  This is entertainment baby. Their very presence amplifies his clownliness on on his very own stage – thanks to the internet, the world stage. An added bonus being the audience who don’t watch any other legitimate news sources are seeing something other than a bunch of cogs in the propaganda machine just going along with it. It’s working.

Changing my mind about who should be attending these briefings has changed my mind about what it takes and what it means to stay in America. It’s the people who can leave but choose to stay and fight the good fight who are the heroes here. Even if it means just staying to vote.

But all I see is a drunk giant that’s about to topple over, and my instinct still is to get as far out of the way as possible to a country which is as least dependant/affected by US as possible, like New Zealand. Here I am, lucky enough to be Canadian and it’s still not enough.

Maybe that’s why American is great, because of its fierce loyalty either way, and its potential which can only be fulfilled if the good ones compete. Me, I’m just someone who’s scared of the show.

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