The Jester and the Opposition

In our recent article, ‘What Can Be Said?’, we put out a call for suggestions on political topics. One of the interesting questions that came back was:

“What was the intended roll of the official opposition in a democratic government? What have they evolved into and how can we turn it back? Would such a change have a positive impact on how we view politicians?”

An interesting line of inquiry to be sure. The first thing to clarify here is that the focus is on the Opposition, not on any specific party or political-leaning. Still, it wasn’t until I heard another interesting quote that the motivation for this article really took hold. That second quote was this:

“The role of the Jester was to speak truth to power.”

That bit really got me thinking. Before modern democracy, in the ages of monarchs, was the Jester the original opposition party?

Well, they may have more in common than we would assume, and perhaps sadly, each have become increasingly wrapped up in the intended or surface-level role of the other.

Let’s start with the court Jester. On the surface, the role here is simple. Juggle, tell jokes, wear some bells on your head, and never pass up an opportunity to slip on an errant banana peel. In short, the role of the Jester was moreover to lighten the mood in the court, to provide a sense of levity.

In so doing however, a skilled Jester could surface some contentious truths—pointing out oversight or flaws in plans, checking assumptions, and with a pointed laugh, helping those in power consider alternative perspectives.

This was no easy job of course, and if ever the Jester tread too far off the path of entertainment and into the realm of politics, it was doubtless no rare occurrence that a jingle-belled head would be the starring role in a very aurally-pleasing beheading.

So, what about the Opposition party in a democracy? Here, we find things rather opposite. The surface level role is a bit more complicated—and overtly aimed at speaking harsh truths to power and keeping a balance on the perspectives of those making decisions. The opposition is meant as a constant check against groupthink, and to prevent one particular perspective from dominating political discourse to the detriment of open debate, consideration, and decision making.

Sadly, in this day and age the Opposition (on both sides of the spectrum, and in most every democratic nation) is taking what to the Jester might be considered the safer route. Rather than speaking truth, checking assumptions, or facilitating difficult dialogue, contemporary Opposition parties seem fixated only on their own survival.

Less interested in viable alternatives or reasonable debate, they have reduced themselves in most cases to a clownish side-show—calling names, sharing whacky photos of Majority party members, questioning sexual identify, faithfulness, or anything else to take away from the perceived legitimacy and humanity of those in power, hopefully veering the voters towards their own ill-defined cause in the next electoral cycle.

It is rarely, if ever, about improving the current cycle—only about ensuring that it is not their heads on the chopping block the next time the voters cast their ballots. Truth, reason, and virtue are tossed to the wayside in favour of insults and gripes, and nothing is ever accomplished short of an occasionally comedic soundbite.

It is a sad and telling reversal of fortunes. On both ends of the political spectrum, Opposition parties have acted to obstruct any progress—even progress they should be ideologically in support of—in order to later gloat that their opponents have accomplished nothing. Then, they bask in the wild glow of their own buffoonery—illuminated by the burning of the nation’s former high aspirations.

In the end, the clown role of the jester has won out, and we are treated to a shocking display of histrionic slapstick, while true (Read: Corporate) power rolls on unchecked.

Getting back to the original question then, what would it take to turn this trend around, and would it improve the way we view politicians? Well, the answer should be apparent enough. To serve their true role, politicians in Opposition parties would need first courage, then clarity. The courage to speak up even if it risks putting them in a vulnerable position—the courage to speak truth even at cost. Truth then, is the other matter, and for this they would need clarity. Truth is a relative thing to most, but to hold true to honest values and virtues is incumbent upon anyone who seeks to change a nation for the better. Do away with the name-calling and infighting, and remember the shared values that should make any nation great.

If this were to finally unfold, perhaps politicians would once again be viewed as defenders of society, as builders of nations and keepers of values.

Sadly, until this occurs, politicians on all sides will be viewed less as the tools to honest debate and growth, but continually as the hapless jesters they are; bumbling about mindlessly, and taking turns tripping over the awkward elephant in the room—that they have no true politics, only prices.

-Brad OH Inc.

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‘Politics’ is Not a Dirty Word

Another day, another tragedy. Presently, it’s the Las Vegas massacre on my mind, or the recent terrorist attack in Edmonton. But depending when you’re reading this, I have sorry little doubt there will be some fresh new event to use for context. Nothing will be different if we use another example, so it doesn’t really matter anyways. Inevitably, you will be told that “this isn’t the time to get political.”

“Let’s not politicize this.”

“Can’t we just have a day to grieve?”

There are a million ways to say it, but it always boils down to the same idea—“Let’s not go using the government to solve problems…that’s not what they’re for.”

It happens after all the most political events. We are told not to get political, not to examine issues and causes. Just be sad.

Pray…if that’s your thing.

Just…don’t try to do anything about it.

They can’t afford real change. They won’t.

But ‘politics’ is not a dirty word, and must not be treated as such if there is ever to be any real progress in this sad world of ours. To turn any political discussion into a taboo subject is to actively waste the opportunity for learning and growth. Further, to claim that political discourse over a tragedy is disrespectful to the victims is not only unhelpful, it’s pigheadedly ignorant.

If we want to prevent tragedy, we must learn from those that occur, and improve our society to prevent future occurrences. That’s what politics is. Anything else—any claim of respect, or timing, or taboo is obstruction of politics. It isn’t kind-hearted, or even well-intentioned. It’s intellectual dishonesty, and in any such instance, you can be damn sure someone is being well paid to convince you that scoffing at the chance to fix things is somehow the moral high ground.

Yes, this is about informed gun control policies.

At least today.

It could also be about systemic racism.

Or police brutality.

Or climate change.

Or money in politics.

Or dozens of other important debates which have been put off for far too long.

These aren’t inappropriate subjects, and they are absolutely the business of politicians and citizens alike. What they are not, is the business of corporations and lobbyists, and yet those are the only ones who seem effective at turning it into their business—specifically, profit.

Shame on them, and shame on anyone who resorts to such hair-brained, nihilistic diversions as ‘let’s not make this political’.

Avoiding civil discourse creates a gap in our understandings, and feeds the ever-widening divide in our nation, and our world. It is uncouth to discuss who you vote for. It’s provocative to talk about the ecosystem during a hurricane. It begins to feel anti-social to make any attempt to discuss our world, when it should be incumbent upon every citizen to do so.

Sadly, when this happens, it usually quickly devolves into attacks like ‘snowflake’, ‘libtard’, ‘hack’, or ‘radical’. This inevitably kills any drive towards honest engagement, and prevents us from truly exploring our values and examining the facts to dream up a better world.

The truth of the matter is that at the end of the day, just about everything is political—especially if it has the potential to affect another living thing without their direct consent. That may seem like a heavy qualification, but there’s an easy litmus test to use for those of you too jaded to do your own research.

Is a great deal of money being spent to convince you something is none of your business?

If so, it’s probably directly affecting to you, your family, and the world you live in.

So, talk about it.

Scream if need be.

If that fails, act.

Make them hear you.

Leave them no choice.

You still have power—never forget that.

 

-Brad OH Inc.

 

The Evocation Series- ‘Landslide’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and to learn how to get involved yourself!

Fleetwood Mac- ‘Landslide’

Song Link

I can remember the view from the top. Looking down upon where I’d started from was humbling and inspiring, and before me the world spread out—an unending stretch of wonder and potential.

Climbed a mountain and I turned around,
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills,
‘Til the landslide brought it down.

It all went sideways fast. Then upside down. Uncertainty, and then sudden panic. It doesn’t last long, but it does stay with you. Ambition can be funny that way, especially when coupled with time and chance.

Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Then, there’s nothing more to be done. Just let it slide away, and see where you end up. The lesson can take a lifetime to come, but ultimately, it’s learned in an instant.

But time makes you bolder,
Even children get older,
And I’m getting older, too.

In the end, you’re left with whatever remains, and you’d better make the most of it. Broken or not, you will have to make do. That’s the thing about life, and about potential—it doesn’t come easy. It was never meant to.

And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills,
Well the landslide will bring it down.

Sooner or later, we all fall down.

-Brad OH Inc.

Juggalos, Nazis, and the Bi-Polar Face of the American People

Today, we have a special treat for all our readers. Head on over to our friends GonzoToday to read our exclusive article on last weekend’s ‘Juggalo March on Washington’!

-Click Here for the Article-

-Brad OH Inc.

What Can Be Said?

Lately, our more observant readers may have noticed a serious lack of articles under our ‘Purely Speculation’ category. ‘Purely Speculation’ is geared towards political posts: exploring recent events, examining key issues, and answering the essential questions about this ridiculous world of ours.

So why the lack of activity on this front?

Well, what can really be said at this point?

Satire falls flat before the sort of asinine stupidity currently on display the world over, and serious insight is wasted on those who look not for understanding, but seek only a target for their own deep-seated rage.

It’s happening on all sides. Finger wagging, insults, and misguided blame are the new debate, openness, and inquiry. There is no room for compromise in a world guided by such hate and ignorance.

The worst part is, it’s simply not a laughing matter anymore.

How do we turn it around at this point? What would it take for people so thoroughly deceived to stand back, take a few deep breaths, and really consider what’s going on beyond their own personal biases? It’s hard to say, and any real effort to do so usually devolves into yet another round of name-calling and threats, with no tangible progress made.

Is there any hope for change?

Well?

…That wasn’t rhetorical, we’re wondering what our readers think!

Yes, we’re putting it back on you. Contact us at the link below to let us know what perspectives you’d like us to explore. Do you have legitimate questions about what’s going on in the world? Do you have a specific issue you’d like to see discussed? Or perhaps an idea for where the world should go from here? Send your thoughts our way, and we’ll happily see what we can do!

Until then, find something worth doing, and then do it. Make it count, and make it real. In the end, after all, each of us can only do our part.

-Contact Brad OH Inc.-

-Brad OH Inc.

I’ll Meet You There

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Hey you, I hope you’re well. I imagine you are, for the most part.

As I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve been wondering about you. What are you up to? What last made you laugh out loud? What song’s stuck in your head? Just where are you, anyway?

Have you been getting the same questions I’ve been getting lately? From friends, or yourself? Is it a matter of age, or the circumstances of those around you? How does it feel when you hear those things?

“Are you doing what you love?”

“Do you think you’ll ever get married?”

“…Have kids?”

Do you stutter briefly, trying to mentally separate those into three different and distinct questions?

I have a strange feeling that you do. But I guess that makes sense, doesn’t it?

Most everything I do contributes to what I love in some way or another, and of late I’ve seen greater success and recognition in all those regards than I have for a long time. It’s good to stop and remember that. People do that too seldom these days.

Still, there does remain this looming sense that something is missing, and I suppose that’s where those other two questions come in.

But you knew that already. You always do, I’m sure. After all, nothing worth having is unimproved by virtue of being shared with loved ones.

As usual, there’s no grand theory here, no epiphanies or oaths to offer, not now at any rate, not yet. It’s all just idle chatter, because I wonder about you sometimes, and thought I’d just throw this out there to say hello.

I hope you’re well, whatever you’re doing. Take care of yourself, and I’ll be keeping my eye out for you, as always.

I expect you’ll do the same.

-Brad OH Inc.

Making Contact?

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Looking down on you. It’s the only vantage point available. Such a fascinating bunch you are…so many questions arise. You are a brilliant sort, unlike so many others. Such a depth of feeling, your passions run wild to the furthest reaches of imagination. A blessing to be sure, but often a curse as well.

You build wonderful works, but almost always for the wrong reasons. To celebrate hubris over humanity, to set one above the rest. It’s disconcerting to an outsider, but perhaps not entirely surprising.

You are dominated by your moods, motivated by your fears, and shackled by your doubts. You learn more from what hurts you than what moves you, and habituate to the divine too swiftly to ever appreciate it. Yet you will cling to the mundane and worthless like they’re totems of yourselves.

But it’s the language that’s most interesting. So much of your reality is defined by the words you have to apply to it. I wonder what you’d think of me? ‘I’, ‘me’, are those even the right words?

I suppose that would be up to you, and therein lies my cause for concern.

What would you call me? What would that make me? There are hundreds of words you might choose from, though none of them quite right. The choice however, would be essential, as so much of your lives are defined by the limited terms you cling to. It sets one against the other, and would almost certainly set you against me in turn.

Perhaps that would be the best thing for you. To hate something truly ‘other’ might show you all just how united you have always been. Would you finally be brought together? Or would you lose all sense of self? What would become of your stories and beliefs, if some small, unknown part of the mysterious expanse was so suddenly made visible to you?

I shudder to imagine.

What must I present you with? What can I give you to help? My very existence could bring you together or forever tear you apart. My knowledge could break you, my words would be lost on you, my abilities could poison your potential, and my compassion would be wasted against your paranoia and discord.

You kill over skin tone, draw lines on planets, and think more about mythologies than you do about your neighbours.

And so, here I am, wondering these things. Sometimes, you get what you ask for, and sometimes, you get the last thing you expect.

But there are other times, rare but relevant, when you simply get what you deserve.

…I believe it’s time for me to be going now.

Good luck.

-Brad OH Inc.