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Political Spectacle & Covert Actions

by admin on 22nd-February-2017

My column last week: Elected, Black and Under Attack was the source of many comments, conversations, and concern…as well as calls to action. I do value the thoughts of all my readers and appreciate your thoughtfulness, care, and commitment to our region, and decided that sharing some of these comments would be a great way to continue the conversation.

Since most of the comments came directly to my inbox, I decided not to attribute the reader’s name to the quote.

"I have really been praying on this! I observed so much betrayal in this past election. Wolves in sheep’s clothing bought by outside interest and stirring up division. It’s like the end of local politics as it is designed to be, replaced by demigods trying to take control of state politics…and yes, it does carry with it racist overtones. This needs to be exposed as a threat to local governance and to the unity in our community. All of us have been sickened by the vile corruptions of our democracy that we have witnessed…The answer may be basic community action."

"I have been expecting that something like this would happen. Some members of that coalition you referenced just cannot and will not get beyond “I have the numbers, therefore…I deserve.” Exceedingly insightful New Yorker article. Was not aware of the history of organizations such as the Sierra Club et al. Pleased that you spoke up."

"It clarifies for me what happened in the election. There are many who cannot recognize wolves in sheep’s clothing. I hope enough sheep and shepherds will read your articles and the attachments and wake-up and run for office."

"Poignant and eye opening! Relevant…Loved the stereogram analogy…one could use it in several situations where you need to look past the BS and bring the truth into focus."

Reading your responses last week reminded me of an article published in 1990 on public spectacle hiding covert actions. Michael Rogin, in his essay Make My Day! Spectacle as Amnesia in Imperial Politics, gives us yet another lens in which to view the actions of some of our political leaders. He begins: “The thief hides the purloined letter, in Edgar Allan Poe’s story, by placing it in plain sight. His theft is overlooked because no attempt is made to conceal it. The crimes of the postmodern American empire, I want to suggest, are concealed in the same way. Covert operations actually function as spectacle…the evidence before our eyes.”

He argues, political spectacle in the postmodern empire – diverts attention from covert action and the secret substance of public policy. “Historical amnesia,” he continues, “allows race and counter-subversion to continue to configure American politics by disconnecting current practices from their historical roots."

Much like my assertion last week, he argues, “The recovery of historical memory exposes these processes…the forgotten link in political spectacle,” he says, “ is the visible tie to the past.” Once again, I ask you to view the political maneuverings you witness through the lens of history and look-up the words Machiavellian and Sycophant…you may notice some archetypes right here in our own community. 

Category: Rants & Raves.
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