Thursday, December 9, 2010

Safari: Hypocrisy Hunting in the Political Jungle

Quite probably because hypocrites received such a "bum rap" in the Old Testament, the art of detecting and revealing these age-old human habits seems to have over-validated and over-valued itself while rushing to desperately inject itself right into contemporary times.  Now, our air waves are "packed to bulging" with a ceaseless stream of such carrion, each time a breathless "amicus brief" delivered too passionately -- as if the latest hypocrisy were even more formidable than the last.

Although this may seem, at first blush, to be another case of "conceptually splitting the hairs of an already nearly bald donkey," indulge MeanMesa for a moment as we explore the idea.

First, from our friendly Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

hypocrisy : a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion 

It should not be much of a surprise when MeanMesa notes the incredible bulk of criticism we now encounter on our radios, televisions and internet favorites.  The last election saw a literal frenzy of such negative comments issuing forth from either end of the political spectrum -- almost every one impling an"anticipation" that the shame of charged hypocrisy would somehow rectify someone's thoughts or behavior.

Even more, in this new political climate of the "endless campaign," that is, the onslaught of public utterances which could -- at election time -- pass for "campaigning," the "campaigning" never politely ceases even on the morning after the ballot results are announced.  A week later, the nation finds itself setting off on a tragic, relentless repetition of all the same arguments employed in the last "campaign" in preparation for the next "campaign."

The national energies which would, in a better application, address the matters of substance arising from our duties to run the country, founder on the cruel rocks of continuing division and rancor.  If the "campaigns" with all their revelations of hypocrisy had not divided us enough by election day, the "campaigns" after the "campaigns" which rage on afterwards frenetically strive to complete the task.

MeanMesa thinks the process cannot reach a state of rest until every player has been sufficiently soiled to perpetually disembowel even the existential possibility  of good -- that is, non-hypocritical (read: sincere) -- intentions no matter where they might reside politically.

In the Old Testament form, these revelations of hypocrisy were meant to unleash the shame and guilt of the targeted miscreant in ways which would rectify his otherwise hypocritical behavior.  However, in the contemporary absence of any recognizable form of such shame, this righteous fulcrum remains barren.  There is no "pivot point" in either the attacked nor in the pious audience which will leverage those falling short of the pretended ideal.

No one is persuaded to a change in course.  In fact, the bellowing has become so all consuming now that not even the audience is particularly entertained.  The sole material product of the effort is the creation of an endless stream of all forms of negative emotion.

Hypocrisy hunting brings home NO MEAT! ( image source )

The trend is stupefying.  When the process is fully in place and we are confronted with the next, inevitable challenge, our efforts turn first to the easier opportunity to expose hypocrisy at the expense of real problem solving.  The "junkie's goal" is that all those participating feel vindicated and satisfied, not to mention "remarkably pure," while, again, nothing is being accomplished.

Good ideas just stand in the cold as abandoned "match girls,"  uninteresting waifs where "justified outrage" trumps thoughtful consideration.

For the risk averse, that is, for those timid creatures unwilling to face the possibility of hosting an unsuccessful proposition for action, everything becomes "roses, simply roses."  They are allergic to the reality that, in the absence of mythology or ideology and the superficial shame they might provide, we will determine our destiny by action, and that action will almost always emerge from a heady combination of risk taking and thick skin.

On the other hand, those gaseous, risk free, negative emotions, along with other "nightmare movies," only seem to be nutritious food which can be luxuriously  taken  with neither chewing nor swallowing.  Career-wise, the future will require far more designers, dreamers, and geniuses than "elegant" prosecutors.

Our obsession with these revelations of hypocrisy fills the full volume of what could, otherwise, be productive thought -- including, by the way, even bad ideas!  In our frenzy to present our claims of deception and unfairness to the Cosmic Court of Justice and Consistency, unexamined certainties of a not too positive nature are effortlessly reinforced, while any actual opinions derived from observing reality become starving waifs in our collective consideration.

In the predictable void of actually considering our real challenges, the "gremlins" of lazy living are not only released, but nurtured, overfed and recklessly exploited.  Rather than moving ahead with the best plans we can muster, human energy is deflected into comparisons between action and inchoate self-definition, over-amplified presumptions and  puerile efforts at righteous superiority and dominance.
Such a garden grows many grotesque little plants, but in particular, two very destructive little vegetables: ideology and petulant greed.  The first is a blinding narcotic while the second erects a monument to sickness and fear.  Both habits probably derive from too much bad religion.

The "compassionate conservative" feels the limit of his self-definition while driving his new Buick -- with the windows rolled up and the doors locked -- through streets with mothers and children sleeping on the sidewalks.  The "overly pure" progressive feels the limit of his self-definition while he sits at home in hopeless misery reflecting on the failings of his world.
Both positions are sterile and strident when considered along side actual propositions for solutions and advancement.

Yes, all of this emerges from the President's speech.  He asks us to consider what we are doing -- what we are insisting must happen.

MeanMesa's compliments to the President.  We stand with him.

Live with it.

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