America is a country beset by junk politics. This is one of the main reasons Donald Trump is president. Junk politics is many things. It is an obsession with the “horse race” of campaigns and elections, rather than a substantive discussion of the real issues that affect the lives of the average American and the country as a whole.
Chauncey Devega | RawStory
Junk politics is a form heavily defined by spectacle, distraction, superficiality and novelty. It is not a space for serious, sustained, and in depth discussion of serious matters of public concern. Junk politics is personality-driven and its preferred mode of communication is short slogans and sound bites.Twitter offers a pre-eminent example of how literacy has been gutted by that platform’s arbitrary limit of 280 characters or less. Junk politics is lived through and enabled by the fact that many Americans lack basic civil literacy and have lost faith in the state’s ability to protect their basic rights and ensure opportunities for upward economic mobility — or even basic economic stability. If the American Dream is dead, junk politics struck one of the lethal blows.
Economic precariousness, societal instability and personal loneliness are byproducts of an American society where junk politics rule. They are also preconditions for how junk politics has thrived in the Age of Trump.
In this wide-ranging conversation, I spoke with Chris Hedges about America’s junk politics. He is the author of numerous award winning and bestselling books including “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle,” “Death of a Liberal Class,” “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” and “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.”
Hedges has also written for the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor and NPR. He is currently a contributing writer for the political commentary and news analysis website Truthdig. His newest book is “America: The Farewell Tour.”