Skip to main content

The politicization of everything

Lead Summary
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

We become shocked and numbed by horrific events happening over and over. There is a phrase for this that describes the onset and development of numbness to such matters: “The Banality of Evil.” It is also the title of a book you may wish to read – if you haven't.

I want to take us in a different direction, however. For me, the 1930s were not so long before I was born – 20 years or so. For others, that is a long time ago. However, for anyone, you can go to YouTube or any of the streaming services, such as Amazon Video, and find documentaries, as well as movies, from those times.

If you do that and look hard at societal conditions in those days versus societal conditions today, several matters are striking. First, an improvement: The general tolerance of people different from one another has improved immeasurably.

Now, think about this. How many politicians from those days to these, at the local, state and federal levels have promised they are going to “improve things” and make life better for us? The numbers are incalculable.

When it comes to civility – the opposite, the degeneration of society – is palpable. From clothing, to manners, to being demure in public, life has gotten coarser, ruder and uglier.

Yet, all along, politicians keep promising us things will be better if we just elect them and let them implement their plans.

The atmosphere has gotten so acrimonious, I have become hesitant to write columns about the human condition and the affects of government on it these days – not because I will bring any harm on myself (unless some crazed person decides to make a trip to Georgia and look me up), but because there is absolutely no need to make Rory’s phone ring off the hook nor his email inbox explode.

What this means, however, is that I have become a part of the group that lets the lunatic fringe have their way. For if I will not call them out, and others will not call them out, they will overtake us. If you look at what is happening in Washington or the media these days, you can see the conditions deteriorate almost week to week in line with what I am saying.

All the technology of today in many cases is not helpful. It allows the non-creative copycats to quickly mimic the evil of others.

It affects us in other ways, too. I should be a minor, nearly ignored opinion writer in a one-horse town who, perhaps, if I dream big enough, can imagine a mere 50,000 people having ever read my columns. Yet, not so many months ago, this column was latched onto by a paid opinion writer in Washington think tank who started writing long convoluted responses to my musings. It was clear his intent was to silence me – a small-time writer in one small town. This is one of the hazards of technology today.

Another is that small-time politicians who make outrageous statements can be latched upon and publicized by numbers driven news organizations. That is why one party must have two nights of debates right now, I am convinced. News organizations will publicize those with the most zany, outrageous ideas for the sake of their own ratings. Sadly, these exposés serve to enforce the concepts believed by small portions of the population. Served up as mainstream thinking, we end up with politicized nonsense.

Those who defend it become shriller and shriller as they think they must in order to justify their own irrationality. It is Orwell’s “1984” Doublespeak, on steroids.

There is an answer to all of this. I recommend a book to you written by the good Dr. Seuss. It is the “Sneetches.” This book comes closest of anything I have ever read to describing the despicable condition we find ourselves in today.

Read it, then resolve to be a better person yourself, a better person as Dr. Seuss might describe. And think of those legions of politicians down through the decades who have failed us. Then ask yourself if any of those on the stump today are any better than the long lines of failures that preceded them. You may just resolve that your opinion – without the aid of their wacky ideas – will serve you and your family best.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

Add new comment

This is not for publication.
This is not for publication.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it. Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.