A good rule of thumb to hold with regards to politics: Never underestimate the power of the trivial to overshadow the gravely important.
Latest example of the above rule came to us last week, when amidst the ongoing backdrop of a still-terrible job market post Capital Paradox (simultaneously with corporate profits doing just great, I might add), more civilians being killed in our name in Afghanistan, and the ongoing crime of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay remaining open & holding people in limbo many of whom have already been cleared as not dangerous, Obama caused a stir… by complimenting the Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris, on her looks at a fundraiser.
Naturally, there ended up people screaming “P.C. POLICE!!!” when the sexist nature of bringing this up was pointed out. Folks, the problem is not the compliment (going by her official pic on her state bio page, far as politician types go she is quite photogenic*), it’s the context: her looks have absolutely nothing of relevance to do with her job, and what he was talking about at the time was her in that job. This is rarely ever deployed towards men in the same positions. On that and that alone, the ones pointing at it were in the right, it wasn’t appropriate… now, make that kind of shaming effort towards Obama on war, civil liberty & the economy, dammit!
The distraction of the bright, shiny object didn’t stop there though. Oh, no. A pollster just happened to release today a survey analyzing voter attitudes towards candidates. They found that regardless of policy (two fictional candidates, one male & one female, were used), mentioning the female candidates looks in coverage dropped her part of the vote, whether positive or not. What the hell?
The political condition here is akin to a layer cake made of Stupid & Evil. General profile of one who even wants the positions discussed matches that of a psychopath. Interests from concentrated wealth decide who among the psychopaths make the best liars & guide who ends up on the ballot. The media fluffs the official line the overwhelming majority of the time, tossing aside what should rightly be seen as relevant information in favor of another form of mindless entertainment plus stenography. And in the end, there are the masses, filled with views about the way things work that are just plain wrong, given little incentive to learn because their voice matters for squat anyway.
* – Before anyone barks, the first I even heard of her was this, so I don’t know what she’s been doing. It’s like with celebrities: I don’t know how some actress is in person, I know what they look like & if I’ve seen her in something I know what I think about her acting. In this case, whatever, she’s a prosecutor, it ain’t likely she does anything I’d cheer about.