Watergate 2.0?

I try to be fair and balanced in my news sources. Haha, no, that means I don’t just look at whatever’s on Fox. I also enjoy CNN and BBC and a variety of reputable news sites because I know that a lot of what comes across as “news” comes with an intended message I’m expected to accept. It’s also instructive when two generally-opposed news agencies are telling essentially the same story about a given issue or event.

CNN and Fox are literally sitting next to each other on my Favorites bar… the closest the two will ever likely get in this day and age.

And this day and age of politics is what’s frustrating me today.

Because apparently it’s important that people drink water.

Breaking News: President's food-based diet confirmed.
Yes, he’s clearly done. Also we’re looking into whether President Obama eats (gasp) FOOD.

I understand that the State of the Union response is not the best time to grab a sip. In our political theater, we want stoic and powerful speakers who can stare into the teleprompter, feign concern, and deliver a stunning performance. If a guy starts getting cotton-mouth when he speaks, if he takes an awkward pause to chug some water… well, that’s it, the fourth wall is broken for me and now I start thinking I’m watching news coverage of someone debating American policy decisions and promises made by the current Administration.

You mean this isn’t a remake of West Wing? What the heck! I’ve been lied to!

This Rubio water thing is on the front page of CNN. It says “Sen. Rubio drowning in ‘water-gate.'” In other words, we’re equating this to a President being implicated in directing breaking and entering to conduct illegal wire-tapping to collect information about political foes.

A bottle of water.

Look, we have enough problems in America that deserve some attention. We don’t need to make crap up and call it news.

Maybe we can talk about our spiralling debt and our inability to turn this titanic government away from a looming fiscal iceberg. We are halfway to $17 trillion dollars of debt from the $16 trillion I ranted about a few months ago. For a refresher, $16.5 trillion means:

$16,500,000,000,000.  Big number. This big number is almost $1 trillion more than the big number that represents everything our country produces within an entire year. We could put an entire year of American production right into the black hole of debt and still owe just about a trillion dollars. Maybe that’s a bigger problem than a drink of water in a very public speech.

Popular scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted that we [planet Earth’s inhabitants as a whole… he’s very inclusive like that] have a high-rise building-sized chunk of rock hurtling toward our planet with no existing ability to deflect it. Bill Nye (the Science Guy) was on the news talking about Earth missing an impact from that asteroid by a mere fifteen minutes. There is no silver Space Shuttle, no Bruce Willis waiting to detonate a nuke deep in an oncoming asteroid to save humanity from extinction. Since that asteroid is passing by today, maybe that’s something to think about at a higher priority than Marco Rubio’s water bottle.

Tyson also commented on the scientific ignorance afflicting the majority of Americans. Maybe that’s an issue worthy of attention.

Speaking of big numbers, abortion (always hoped to be “safe, private, and rare” by its supporters) has claimed 55 million babies / fetuses since Roe v. Wade. 55 million is pretty big. That’s over one sixth of the population of the USA. Some people think that’s a pretty big deal.

Some people probably consider the population of the US and the world as a whole to be a big deal. 7 billion people on this planet need a lot of resources, and resources in some cases are finite. 7 billion people also use a lot of stuff and leave behind a lot of trash, some of which isn’t going to biodegrade anytime soon. Kind of a big deal.

Ooh, CNN, maybe you should find out whether that water bottle in Rubio’s hand was really biodegradable. That might be another angle you can use to really focus on the key issues in the news today.

Unemployment is still higher than anyone wants it to be. Gun violence is still more rampant than anyone wants it to be. Healthcare in America is probably still more expensive than anyone wants it to be, despite the influence of Obamacare. People in America are fighting for “marriage equality” so that they can love the person they choose. Maybe you’re for that. Maybe it’s a bigger issue than Rubio taking a drink. People in America are fighting to keep their right to express their religious beliefs about marriage and abortion and birth-control. Maybe you’re on their side of the fence. You probably also think it’s a bigger deal than a water bottle during the response to the State of the Union.

Our government recently said, “Trust us when we kill American citizens, we’re totally legit and not shady at all.” And they expected the American public to buy it. Maybe that’s a big deal worth some attention and thought. Marco Rubio took a drink of water, but there’s a 16 year old American kid who got hit by an American Hellfire missile launched off the wing of an American drone flying over a foreign country, and the government can say, “No, really, it’s ok, he was a bad teenager. This is national security stuff, you wouldn’t understand. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.” Kind of a big deal.

Heck, maybe that “pilot” can get himself a Distinguished Warfare Medal out of the event. We’re willing to recognize pilots flying drones from around the world as more worthy of respect and admiration than servicemembers dodging (or taking) enemy fire while performing valorous deeds in combat on the battlefield. That’s a big deal too.

If politics means looking pretty and delivering a performance worthy of an Oscar or a Nobel prize, then maybe our society is going the wrong direction. Maybe we’re missing the point, forsaking a discussion and debate of the myriad issues facing our country, and allowing people to frame political issues as a pageant where appearance is all that matters. We’re expected to tune in for the next episode in our favorite political reality show, and chuckle when the laugh track CNN provides tells us the joke is funny.

Sorry, I’m not laughing.

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