Civic Geek: In On The Scam

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This is going to be a bit of a “darker” column than my usual writing.  I want to talk about why the world seems to be such a mess.

A compromised president  A congress that doesn’t seem to care about that or anything else.  Some new political scandal emerges every week, usually about a Republican, and usually something hideously creepy.  People end up voting for these creepy idiots and we can’t figure out why.  Television is a parade of lickspittles and temporary celebrities kissing up to power.  So-called populists backed by millionaires parade about, and insta-celebreties appear out of nowhere jumping on whatever political bandwagon is convenient.

What the hell is going on?

Let me suggest that part of this bizarreness is that we’ve democratized political grifting.

Sure, there have been many politicians and rulers in history who didn’t actually believe what they said about things like morals and decency and patriotism.  We knew that.  We’ve always known that.

But now, because we all know that, some people want in on the action.  They too want to be political grifters, big and small, and they don’t really care what happens.

You can back a candidate that’s clearly an immoral liar – and you know it – but you can enjoy “triggering” people.  You can become a YouTube celebrety by spewing BS.  Manage to get yourself “in trouble” and you might become an celebrity as you claim persecution.  We don’t just have people trying to manipulate the system – we always had them – but now we’ve given more people ways to do it and made it even more profitable.

if you’re ambitious enough and immoral enough, you to can not give a dam and see how much wealth and power and fame you can accumulate.  You can even keep changing your mind or switching gears until the right grift pays off – and maybe all you want is something simple like yelling at people!

B.S. backs B.S.  Conspiracy theories provide covers to real corrupt officials.  A popular pundit or preacher or politician can elevate some no one who spews the right B.S. to new popularity.  More people are in on the scam.

Only it’s a meaningless scam.  Political Grifting doesn’t fix things, they’re just a way to make yourself wealthy, or powerful, or just cope with your feelings of inadequacy.  It’s a giant race where everyone is trying to get theirs before it falls apart.

Meanwhile everyone trying to scam in the New B.S. Economy is both destroying our good will and society and ignoring real problems.  Sarcastic television comments aren’t going to stop client change.  Wage disparity isn’t going to be repaired by tearfully claiming persecution for the latest deliberately-shocking thing you said to get attention.  People both make things worse and don’t work to fix our real problems.

So that’s one of my theories about Why There’s So Much Suck Right Now.  More people are getting in on ages-old scams, more people are engaged in political grift.

We’re going to need to get wise.  Literally.

-Steven Savage