Independence

1

Given what day just passed, I thought I’d risk crossing my self-imposed line of exile from politics & punditry and opine here for a bit about the great American chasm.

You know the one; it sits between, on the one hand, the modern surreality of sexy headlines and the accompanying hollowness of today’s “American Idol Journalism” mentality… especially wherever politics and governance is considered… and the real world in which the rest of us live, on the other. It is a chasm our Founders foresaw, and one their successors have labored furiously, hence, to obfuscate.

Bear with me as I walk that fine line between “going negative” against our poor, defenseless politicians… and “going positive” with all the “independence” we have been able to muster these last couple hundred years… despite their best efforts to contravene.

Merriam-Webster tells us that there are two fundamental ways in which to define independence: one, as a state, and the other as a quality… and I think that’s just about right. The “state” of it, then, is – allegedly – provided by, defended by, and sworn to be upheld by our public officials.

I leave you, dear readers, to decide amongst yourselves whether and how well you believe that job is being performed. The “quality” of it, however, is something I’d like to make a few finer points about.
Mark Twain suggested in his autobiography that:

[t]here are certain sweet-smelling sugar-coated lies current in the world which all politic men have apparently tacitly conspired together to support and perpetuate. One of these is, that there is such a thing in the world as independence: independence of thought, independence of opinion, independence of action. Another is that the world loves to see independence — admires it, applauds it.

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