When political theater begets the “crime”
Adrift with the terrifying images we are consuming from Portland, we may be missing the “big picture”: this current administration is in the theater business having forfeited governance a long time ago, well before Lafayette Park.
Which is what ‘real live’ governors — some Democrat, some Republican — have been suggesting all along: governing is not stoking make- believe scenarios. Theater can be entertaining, revelatory even. Theater was never intended as a substitute for societal regulation and repression . Showing up means “showing up,” not acting out in front of cameras.
And governance, unlike theater doesn’t need a script or directors. Because in a free, non-repressive society, one doesn’t “see” governance. Good governance is barely noticed in those social democracies, hugging the shores of the North Sea, the same countries. described as “boring,” by Senate drama queen, Ted Cruz.
Well, Denmark, Norway, et. al. ARE boring. That’s the point: for all their faults and there are several, these countries practice good governance and have the institutions in place to bulwark the cooperation of its practitioners and benefactors. Toss in New Zealand, land of sheep and healthy people.
Maybe as a country we are watching the wrong show.
‘They come in buses. They wear military fatigues, weighed down by military style weaponry. They drive oversized dark SUVs.’
There’s mystery. These nameless and unaccountable folks are uninvited, deploying into beleaguered urban pools of immigrants, the disenfranchised and “others.” Mayors, governors and local officials are caught off guard.
This is act one.
Correction: not ALL mayors and governors. Among the first to call out the uninvited as actors in a “drama not of our making” was Gov. Gretchen Witmer, who labeled then virus protection protestors as “political theater,” back in early May.
Fast forward to Oregon Gov. Kate Porter who recently demanded accountability for the distraction these fatigue-dressed players were causing the city of Portland and ‘oh by the way’ the assault on our constitutional rights to speech and assembly.
We use the word “uninvited” advisedly. The military dons are being invited as it were by their “mandate” to protect federal government buildings and monuments. Then why do these quasi “walk-ons” lead peaceful protestors into the aprons and plazas of federal land? Good camera angles?
The ‘last word’ belongs to Mayor Lightfoot of Chicago who at a news briefing Tuesday, July 21, about “opportunists” violating peaceful protestors’ rights, claimed that “these are young people, our sons and daughters, who are peacefully protesting,” (and) who become surrounded and captive to the violence wreaked upon them.
Lightfoot “shows up” and invokes our rights for peaceful protest now and in the future, the inheritance of “sons and daughters.”
And she offers up to our critical eye, the crime of “the moment.”
For irresponsibility, truancy, ignorance, vindictiveness -to name a few — all micro-assaults of our societal imagination — are all subject to timing: the “real” criminal act.
When ‘political theater’ begets the “crime of futures,” we are robbed of our space to reflect and to analyze, to question and to assert our peace.
“The show must go on.”
July 23, 2020