The Oldest Profession Just Keeps Getting Older

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The 40th president of the United States may have aptly described American politics: “It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession,” Ronald Reagan said. “I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”

The election cycles of the 21st century have provided us with a very soiled view into the current American psyche.

While Reagan’s observation may be correct as Americans take delight in lambasting politicians and the press, a darker reality appears to becoming increasingly apparent.

It’s the cold hypocrisy and quick outrage of so many who delight in airing their dirty opinions on the public stage and then fall into raging indignity when someone returns the insult.

Examples abound; one misinformed, misguided and malicious New York representative gets offended over supposedly salacious social media posts from certain federal workers.

If Rod Serling were alive, he’d find rich fodder for a new horror television series in the world of overly sensitive American politicians and fragile Hollywood narcissists.

This is the tennis player who serves and becomes offended when the opponent returns the ball with zest.

Of course, from a distance, it’s easy to point to politicians and the press for their immoral shenanigans and gross incivility. It’s easy to laugh at pompous entertainers for their vacuous political tantrums.

And it’s certainly easy to scream at the news media for its extreme bias and near total disregard for objectivity.

But in the end, this nation is not an oligarchy, a monarchy or totalitarianism – at least not yet.

This nation still belongs to the people, and as much as ambitious personal-injury attorneys and bombastic politicians enjoy using that term, the responsibility for the health and well-being of the United States lay with the voters and consumers.

While poisonous ideologies may be devouring the foundations of American discourse, we still have to find the mirror to cast the first stone.

We’re still electing morally thin and intellectually vacuous politicians. We’re still consuming the products of those we deem reprehensible – be they blockbuster movies, news outlets, corporate giants or other information and entertainment producers.

The addict can’t blame the pusher if the addict keeps giving the pusher more and more money.

We’re watching a very bad circus, and we keep paying our admission fees, over and over. Then we blame the clowns for abusing the customers.

What’s wrong with this picture? It is us. We are what’s wrong. If we’re going to fix this country, we have to fix it with our pocketbooks.

We’re going to have to learn to repeat what first lady Nancy Reagan said in 1987, “Just Say No.”