Politics: Best Drama on Television, or Is It the Best Comedy?

By Donna Arp Weitzman | Author of Cinderella has Cellulite and Other Musings of a Last Wife

One would have to be in the Sahara covered with ant-infested sand not to have been bombarded by the characters at the Republican National Convention this past week, all vying for increased absurdity.  What most dismays many of us is that these later centuries Roman Empire-types actually believe their own bullsh-t!

The politicians' clichés and platitudes ooze like greenish puss from fresh wounds.  Certainly as Americans, we are wounded, and assuredly the Donald picks and prods at our scabs.  Every policeman gunned down stabs our heart, every innocent American mauled or killed injures our psyche, and what heretofore startled us now just disgusts us.

Then, adding insult to our traumatized souls, the politicians preen like newly feathered peacocks, marching to their own self-aggrandizing two-step.  The media begs for lapdog status, hoping we, the pitiful public, will tune in for the show.

It's difficult to imagine that our early public servants wouldn't wince at the theatrics of today's digitalized, media-centric political arena.  Obviously, early America had its John Hancock and Thomas Jefferson, but it is likely that these aristocratic stud horses at least had some policies and platforms that aided our nascent republic.

But, as the playwright, Noël Coward put it, "the show must go on."  And a spectacle it is!  

 Photo Credit: nj.com

Photo Credit: nj.com

The big no-no that many Americans are making is simple.  We still believe that politicians should be intelligent, well-informed, articulate, balanced and good-hearted.  I feel ants crawling on my head. Maybe completely burying it is the only way to rid myself of creepy, crawly disconcerting feelings. There is something to say for having our heads buried in the sand!

No, even as discouraged as I am with the plasticity and vacant platforms; the utter lack of substantive policy discussions and the amateurish performances of pseudo-sincere caring, I occasionally plop in front of the television and silently hope for a real leader.  Is there an honest Abe among us?

Has our dearth of leaders become so desperate that at conventions and rallies, it is necessary to have our politicians’ lucky sperms speak? Although, the offspring have proven they can be less boring as they have divergent gene pools from different spouses.  Diversity makes for better character actors.

Thursday night at the RNC was the "capper."  Beauty and brains with Ivanka, followed by the beast, Donald.  Did it live up to the hype?  The opinions of the televised pundits largely depended upon their professed allegiance to either party.

The DNC debacle (hopefully not debauchery) begins next week.  This will likely be a parade of panderers much like pagans to royalty.  Hillary's performance is perfected in every way excepting her yell, which even the best voice coach hasn't tempered.  The lack of voice talent could cost her valuable votes, so she stays in her star trailer and rehearses, low, calm and soothing, much like a mother bear wrapping her cubs in warmth and love.  Try again!

It promises to be another long week.  Are we Americans really this gullible and desperate?  God knows we need leadership.  The giant sucking sound at the White House began decades ago.  There are rumors told by big dog donors spending the evening in the Lincoln bedroom that his ghost has been seen with tears in his eyes.

The drama and comedy of politics is as old as man.  Romans seemed particularly skilled at its theater.....”Et tu, Brute?”  Gone are the days in which American politics elicited awe and wonderment from the public, displayed wonderfully by the critical acclaim of the film The American President and the television series The West Wing.  The arrival of the 24-hour news cycle and more skeptical politically inspired entertainment options such as The Ides of March and House of Cards signify that we are all aware of the highly practiced sham that is the political show.

But, we Americans do love the show.  Here's a couple of playbills:

PLAYBILL 1

The Donald:  The Czar

Melania:  The Empress

Ivanka:  The Royal Daughter----heir apparent, much like Queen Elizabeth after King George

Two Sons----Male Trump bobble heads

Tiffany:  possibly a spare to the heir?

Senator Ted Cruz:  the spoiler----this character has some cojones

Chris (I'm disappointed) Christie

Governor Pence:  Clean Up Crew

 

PLAYBILL 2

Hillary:  Catherine the Great as Empress

Bill (two roles):  Peter the Great and Grand Duke Peter

Chelsea:  Young Catherine the Great

Monica Lewinsky:  Marta, Peasant Girl and Peter the Great’s Lover

 

Much like a William Shakespeare performance, this show may be a dreadful tragedy, (take your pick; Hamlet, King Lear, MacBeth) or could turn out to make America laugh again just like Sir William’s comedy, Much Ado About Nothing!