The Politics of the Absurd

Are you sick of jokes about tiny hands and hysteria over who gets to use which bathroom? Because doesn't the news feel a bit surreal these days? Reminiscent of the "Theater of the Absurd"? It seems more like a bad infomercial running 24/7. Seriously, who cares about the meaning of life when we have to worry about who is peeing where? Now that is a line straight from the absurdists isn't it?

Honestly, this obsession with the toileting habits of the few seems to be just a bit of yellow journalism. Meant to distract you from the real issues, and keep you from thinking too deeply about what might actually change our lives. Don't our legislators have any actual work to do? I have to question the seriousness of debating who gets to urinate where while the American dream seems to be what is getting flushed down the toilet.

I am more than a little perplexed that members of the United States Senate, United States House of Representatives and state legislatures nationwide seem to be working hard to circumvent Constitutional law and micro-manage urinal use while they ignore the degradation of our way of life. Are we really paying them to police private toilet use? What about balancing a budget? Could they maybe try to get that done?

Here is an example of the absurdities going on. I was at a state legislative update meeting last week. It was hard to sit there and listen as a member of the Pennsylvania legislature blamed public pensions for all our financial woes. It was as if he didn't really understand that some school districts spend less on pension funding than on their athletic program and payments for interest on debt. I mean, really, it couldn't be that this man was simply ignoring reality to push his personal ideology could it? Why would anyone want to blame public education for an imbalanced budget and bad decisions of lawmakers in refusing to fund past pension obligations that force local tax increases and foist that on taxpayers.....oh wait.

And then I saw it: blaming public education, pensions and unions, forcing local real estate tax increases creates the false argument that public schools are the problem. This in turn creates a resentment toward public education and specifically teachers and unions. Blaming them for the imbalanced budget and forcing higher local taxes by refusing to enact simple sensible tax reform is a clever, if morally questionable, tactic to keep people angry about something other than the fact that the mess was created by a failure to fund past obligations.

But that isn't sexy is it? That doesn't help further an ideological stance that public pensions are the problem and need to be purged. And that leads me down the garden path to other purely ideological arguments currently being made in this arena of the absurd.

An excellent example is the erosion of voting rights and infection of our political system with dark money. While the problem is obvious the conversation seems downright delusional. All over the internet I'm seeing claims that the DNC is "rigging" elections and "stealing" votes. Are you kidding me? Have people not been paying attention to who is passing laws to disenfranchise voters? Seriously people, you've got me very worried now.

Election boards aren't run by political parties and voter purges hurt all candidates. No one knows who someone is going to vote for. C'mon, use those lovely brains, purging Democratic voters is not candidate specific. Shutting down polling places and limiting voting times is an obvious tactic to make voting difficult for working people. This isn't about Hillary versus Bernie, this is about reality versus red herring nonsense to set liberals against progressives the same way there are efforts to set us against unions and teachers via this nonsense blaming pensions for tax increases.

We've allowed this type of absurdity to pervade every aspect of our lives and pervert our system. It is no longer just the theater of the absurd, but our entire body politic which has been infiltrated with idiotic ideological arguments to subvert our system and divide us. And make no mistake, the goal is to divide and conquer. Because if we all stood together and insisted on a living wage, healthcare and pensions for all, fully funding public education and a balanced budget nothing could stop us.

The politic of the absurd is the problem, not pensions, welfare or public education and certainly not the Democratic party. Don't let this nonsense divide us. Let's remember this is about policy not personalities. Don't go down the rabbit hole of the absurd and ignore the actual atrocities happening every day from Flint to Philadelphia. Don't become so mired in the politic of the absurd you lose perspective on what we are trying to do, which is balance much more than one budget.

We only lose if we allow our focus to be divided. If we worry more about who is using which bathroom rather than why we are destroying our way of life. Because really, that is just utterly absurd.