Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Foamy Head of Our Politics On the Frosty Mug of Our Culture

     Most readers can recall the image of an ice cold beer in a frosted mug with just the right amount of a foamy head at its peak. The liquid comprising 80% of the mug is overshadowed by the airy foam at the top. I have recently thought about the beer with the foamy head as I have perused the rocky landscape of this nation's politics. Sometimes the most important part of our national life, the liquid part of our frosty mug, has been subjugated to the frosty head that draws our attention from what is really important.
     The frosty head on our national mug is the day-to-day politics, sometimes petty and meaningless in the long run, that draws our attention and energies from the core greatness of this country which was built on culture, not politics. It becomes more and more difficult to see the substantive liquid in the mug the closer the foamy head is brought up to our lips. And so it has become with our politics, I believe in large part due to the explosion of information in American modernity.
     I do not intend to advocate a position against modern technology, the Internet, or the ever popular talk radio. To do so would be foolish, as those things are here to stay. But as useful as these things are to the dissemination of information, they have also made the propagation of disinformation just as ubiquitous. And sometimes disinformation comprises most of the foamy head in our public debate, becoming the focus that veils the most relevant aspects of our culture in verbiage that many times is constructed only of invective and acrimony.
     This phenomenon, unfortunately, is not the sole property of any one political ideology or ethos, but seems to have displaced our culture on both sides of aisle. This practice can be seen in the relentless drumbeat present in one-issue-politics. So much so that it no longer is a virtue that someone agree mostly with the practitioners of this faith. What has become the yardstick of someone's dedication to the ideology is the one issue with which they disagree. In other words, the foamy head on the beer becomes more important than the refreshing liquid below.
     As we proceed deeper into the sometimes dark and twisted woods of the exhausting political process to select our next president, let us not forget that culture is more important than politics. After all, politics is just the foamy head created by the liquid of our culture. It is that liquid part upon which we should focus, then the political will follow. Of course sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the politics from the culture. Which is why we must set down the mug from time to time so as to facilitate our ability to delineate between the foam and the liquid.

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