Saturday, August 4, 2012

Damn, I Missed My Train of Thought

Being a rider of public transportation these days, one cannot help but occasionally miss the boat, bus, or train (as the case may be) from time to time.  This usually isn't a problem, since if you miss one, there's always another (though here in Kansas there are limitations to such rules).  Missing (or losing) a train of thought can be slightly more embarrassing however, and can even have greater consequences.     

Now though never officially diagnosed with a recognized disorder, I'm the first to admit that I've suffered for more than fifty years (far more than I would like to admit) with the attention span of a two year-old (with all due apologies to two year-olds for the comparison of course).  It's a situation that I should probably be concerned about (since it keeps getting worse); but I can't seem to keep it on my radar screen long enough to do anything about it.  Even as I attempt to write this, I find myself jumping ahead to write down bits that I want to use and will otherwise forget in the next minute or so if I don't.  Let me tell you that it can sometimes be a rather frenetic process trying to assemble the bits and pieces into something resembling coherent thought, which might account for how little coherency occurs in these efforts.     

Some might ask why I haven't had the necessary testing done, since confirming a diagnoses might provide a path to its improvement. The problem however, is that I have little of the patience required for the medical profession to perform their alchemical testing processes on me, and absolutely none for the ensuing pharmacological experimentation required to achieve a 'medicinal balance'.  (In other words, I don't like taking pills.)  Besides, once I turn myself over to the military industrial complex that modern medicine has become, there's no telling what they may find and want to treat; ailments which would thereafter qualify as "pre-existing conditions" that would follow me around under new health care law. 

This condition might well explain in part why I spend so much of my literary efforts in writing about politics.  For in doing so, I can easily acknowledge that I'm not the only one out there suffering.  The strategies of politicians running for election or re-election for too many years is ample proof.  Every time that their teleprompter pontifications end and the subject becomes a Q and A session, we see the prestidigitation begin.  

While the mainstream media can normally be counted on to ask the same tired old questions, from which the candidate can pull a platitude from their tired bag of tricks (PETA gets pissed if it's a rabbit instead); occasionally one of them (or someone from the audience) manages to sneak in a real question about a real issue.  After pausing, smiling, and often reaching out the audience; the candidate (or incumbent) says, "I'm glad that you asked that question."  After stumbling through a couple of completely unrelated responses, they sum up their answer with, "Oh look, squirrel!"      

Amazingly, no one in either the media or the audience immediately stops the proceedings by shouting out, "Hey, that's not an answer!" Seldom in fact, will anyone attempt to re-ask the question in order to clarify an answer that was never given in the first place.  Even more surprisingly, if it's done well, the candidate insists in the follow up response that they think they've answered the question and would like to move on; the audience's short-term memory loss and loss of focus normally allows them to do so.

Now before those on either the left or the right begin nodding in a sad example of the 'bobble head' effect of so many true believers while reading this, you should understand that I think this one of the few bi-partisan efforts of politics.  Both political ideologies are equally guilty in participation and both are equally susceptible to its machinations.  Even Libertarian candidates can fall prey to the process, though usually in their case it's not that they're trying to dodge the question as much as they're trying rephrase it in such a way that the answer makes sense.   

For example     

Question: Do you support the concept of traditionally sanctioned Marriage between a Man or a Woman or do you approve of Gay Unions? 

Answer:  No. 

Follow up: Wuh?  (The media is often confused by direct answers to poorly phrased questions, as they fail to provide good soundbites.)  

Answer:  I think (not believe) that government, at any level, has no place sanctioning marriage.  Churches may choose to sanction or ban practices relating to the union of couples as it suits their beliefs, and the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees them the right to do so without government interference.  Forcing a couple to obtain a license from the government in order to marry is over reach, and therefore denying them such a license for any reason should be irrelevant.

See those damn, pesky Libertarians keep throwing in distractions like limited government, the First Amendment, and the use of government force where it has no place.  Now what kind of answer is that?  But such occurrences are unfortunately rare, as Libertarian candidates are seldom asked such questions by the mainstream media (or any others for that matter).  And so we are left with a political rope-a-dope that Muhammad Ali would be hard-pressed to compete with, and a dearth of answers that's far too common in the legerdemain of modern politics.  

Though perhaps the gridlock, non-stop electioneering, and rhetorical nonsense being currently spouted (especially at the national level) is in fact a direct result of the apparent short attention span of the American voter.  Their ever-present need to be distracted in every aspect of their lives from entertainment to politics (when you can tell the difference between the two, of course) may be the only thing keep the few who actually do voting. 

Wow, it seems that I may be jumping around a bit in this effort, so perhaps I should attempt to sum this up for you and .... damn!  What was talking about again?

Look, Squirrel! 


Roland Hansen said...

I just had a thought. Oops, there it went. I wonder what it was.
When the good Lord was passing out brains, I thought He said trains and I said I would take a slow one.

Roland Hansen said...

Oh, wait a minute, I just remembered --- oops, I lost it again.