A big week of little consequence

Column by Michael Alcorn
Posted 2/11/20

“Welcome, my friends, to the show that never ends!” I have a sickness, one which I have admitted to before: I love politics. I am a political junkie. So, of course, last week I spent WAY too much …

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A big week of little consequence

Posted

“Welcome, my friends, to the show that never ends!”

I have a sickness, one which I have admitted to before: I love politics. I am a political junkie. So, of course, last week I spent WAY too much time in front of televisions and getting updates from Twitter on the latest political activities. But, just in case that was all so long ago — speaking in political terms — for you to remember all of it, here’s the quick recap:

• Monday, the Iowa Caucuses, first-in-the-nation preliminary to decide who will go against President Trump this fall

• Tuesday, the State of the Union Address

• Wednesday, the formal Senate vote on Impeachment

• Thursday, Iowa almost sort of kind of announced the official winner from Monday night

• Friday, the Democrats’ New Hampshire debate

It was a big week.

And, boy, did the cable news and online sources treat it like it was a big week. Starting with the debacle that was counting the votes in the caucuses of Iowa (I thought all the great techy minds were on the political Left….), the pundit class was earning a lot of overtime. By about midnight, most of the newsers I was following had given up on getting a straight answer from the Iowa Democratic Party, but it was fairly clear, at that point, who the top two vote-getters were going to be, and who else was still alive. In the long run, the winner of Iowa earned 14 delegates and the 2nd place finisher earned 12, out of 1,990 delegates that the winner will have to earn by the Democratic Convention. It was, all things considered, meaningless.

Then, Tuesday night’s State of the Union grabbed the attention of all the talking heads for the open and childish feud brewing between President Trump and Nancy Pelosi. He refused to shake her hand, she tore up his speech … all great theater. But, does anybody remember anything of actual substance from the 80-minute speech or anything that came after it? I don’t. So Donald and Nancy won’t be sharing a Valentine’s Day meal — so what?

Wednesday the foregone conclusion became formalized. No matter what you believe about the substance of the charges against the President or the process the Impeachment went through, there was never, ever a doubt that the Senate would acquit. There aren’t 67 votes in the Senate for anything these days, except maybe extended lunch breaks.

And Friday was little more than a typical antiseptic conversation featuring two old white guys and an old white woman who have been in politics forever, a rich white guy who bought his way onto the stage, a younger white guy and white woman from the middle of the country, and a young Asian man who’s never been in politics before. For what? 24 delegates, roughly 1.2% of what the winner will need to earn. Sure, there will be story lines coming out after Tuesday, but not much else.

Here’s the thing: all of the energy, drama, and angst — not to mention the television time and news division budgets — all amount to nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Bupkus.

It is all theater. It is all for show. No matter how clever Nancy Pelosi’s act was on Tuesday for energizing the Democrat base, it was just as effective at energizing the President’s base. The whole week might as well have been put on a Broadway stage for all the actual effect it has on our lives.

And, in the meantime, there’s a pandemic developing which we almost certainly don’t know the full scope of (given that it started deep inside China), Russian jets are bombing civilians in Syria, Australia is still being devastated by fire, and quasi-political street violence hit three of our cities this weekend (Portland, New York, and Jacksonville).

Enjoy the show, everyone. But don’t forget, when you leave the theater, to keep your eyes on things that matter.

Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at Amazon.com, on Kindle, or through MichaelJAlcorn.com.” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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