Given recent events, it is depressingly appropriate to discuss the role of truth in political suicide.
South Carolina House Representative Trey Gowdy has been making a name for himself as a politician with a conscience since announcing his retirement in January. The sudden appearance of a backbone is no coincidence. He is one of several Republicans who have decided to admit the emperor is wearing no clothes as the sweet image of retirement grows larger with each passing day.
Originally, I wanted to give Gowdy "two cheers" for speaking up and providing strong words toward the president's wild accusations about "spygate." Better late than never, after all. How wondrous it would be to see a model for the new politician. One that breaks rank and speaks their mind with an appreciation for truth and defending the people. I wanted to paint Gowdy as the future whose hair style perfectly matched an advanced society. He would only need a wardrobe change to fit into the world of The Fifth Element, battling evil next to Bruce Willis. It was perfect.
Let the glass be half full, I said. A Palmetto State Republican calling something for what it is would have been perfect. This two-year train wreck needs a victory, no matter how small it may be. However, that half-full glass is a most wretched swill and putting an umbrella in it won't make it go down any easier. The fact is, the timing of Gowdy's strong stance only works to demonstrate everything that is wrong with the modern political sphere. Truth only becomes a priority when the job of representing "the people" is coming to an end. That's not a statement about Gowdy's career as a politician. It's a statement about American politics and the depraved power of the two-party system which keeps a stranglehold on the American people.
At the very least, Gowdy and his fellow political retirees, did the right thing as they stand with one foot out the door. They didn't remain silent about the monster that is Trump and the machine he now controls like a 13-year old who stole his old man's car. "I like jobs where facts matter," Gowdy said in regards to his retirement. A quick jab about the ludicrous nature of our government.
The thing is, facts have always mattered. However, as Gowdy also pointed out, American politics has become a place where "it really is just about winning." The concept of right and wrong is no longer the conversation in regards to social issues. It is a business and politics is little more than marketing strategies to drive people to your side. Politicians may as well be robots who are programmed to vote conservative or liberal on any given subject. (Insert Futurama joke here.) There is no need for debate because the voters who swing the polls, such as the white supremacists who were sick of equality becoming too much of a reality, only listen to clever slogans that appeal to their simple natures. That's why Trump's obvious lies, which have not stopped since he began campaigning, are not enough for American society to condemn him. Wild statements that convict all Mexicans as drug mules don't negatively impact an election, as we saw. It only activates a new base. The GOP, whether they like it or not, is now the party of white supremacy. The only question is what group of underappreciated Americans will be the next "Alt-Right".
The truth has no place in political marketing. It is all about activating as many supporters as possible for the sake of elections and power. By and large, representing the people is a cover for enabling the two-party system. An independent mind is a threat to the political dichotomy. Republican and Democrat strategists scare voters away from the "independent" depending on the political climate because every election is too important for the underdog to lose. In this way, they ensure that Republicans and Democrats need only worry about each other. When the independent mind who cannot be intimidated by partisan threats makes themselves known, politicians might actually have to start serving the people instead of their parties. That would be a disaster for American politics. Can you imagine a world where you actually had to be informed in order to care about politics? Scary. We may as well go back to televisions that don't have remote controls.
The two-party system is the downfall of America. It cares only for itself. As Gowdy has shown us, morality and truth can only exist when your political career is coming to an end because you will be devoured from the inside otherwise. If the era of Trump has had any positive impact, it is the growth of political intelligence among the population. More people are paying attention. One can hope Gowdy-like statements which condemn immorality will become a characteristic of active politicians instead of a last gasp. That is the rise of the independent. First, we must stop listening to the fear propaganda. We will never have a government of independent thinkers until we resolve to think for ourselves. Power to the people.