Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Political Use of the Three Ring Circus

Every morning when I wake up and turn on the TV while making breakfast, I have the same reaction: why is the news all about which presidential candidate said or did what,  and what are his chances of being the candidate to face Obama, and what does so and so think about it, and what is the White House doing about it?

Finally, this morning I got one of those alpha moments as I was waking up: we’re witnessing the political harnessing of the three ring circus!

If I remember correctly, in your standard circus, there is usually one ring where the main attractions are featured, while the other two are there to fill the space. (My readers, ever ready to pounce on the slightest erroneous detail, will forgive me if my circus facts are totally wrong: I’m taking ‘poetic license’ today, for the cause.)

With respect to the news, what we have is a very good imitation of a three ring circus: Keep the audience’s attention focused on the main ring, no matter what happens in the other two.

In the two side rings the Climate Conference in Durban (South Africa) gears up, even as BP lures winter vacationers to the Gulf Coast which it trashed a few years ago; Iranian students sack the British Embassy in Teheran; NATO quibbles with Pakistan over whose first shot resulted in 24 Pakistani military deaths; Russia approves the Arab Leagues sanctions against Syria, and Northern Israel is shelled from Lebanon.

I’m reminded that in recent days someone, I think it was Chris Matthews, replayed a 2007 Democracy Now interview of  retired General Wesley Clarke in which he describes how, ten days after 9/11, a Pentagon officer informed him of plans to achieve regime change in no fewer than seven Middle Eastern countries.

Yet in the main circus ring, the news is all about Herman Cain’s love life.


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