Red has determined that we are well into what he is calling the “Clown Era” of modern political leadership. At this stage in history, the ability to entertain enough of the voters is perhaps the best path to political power. The platforms for such antics are expanding. While Twitter is the current rage, who knows what digital spaces will erupt for aspiring comedians, entertainers and professional buffoons to emerge and stake claims to office.
One need only look at the current Reality TV Show Joke of a Presidency that the U.S. is experiencing. Trump makes no real pretense to doing anything other than entertaining his base via Twitter, Fox News and ego-fests of rallies that might make members of the Third Reich blush. Trump’s path to power was primed by Ronald Reagan – the great communicator – who in today’s world would undoubtedly be considered a complete dud on the political comedy/entertainment circuit. “Tear down this wall” cannot compete with the Ricklesian insults hurled by Trump at everyone who might cross him – including the physically impaired, dispossessed and teenage girls. Serious political considerations will not win voters who find such joy in watching an utterly narcissitic asshole preen and pose for the bright lights. Reagan was right in saying, “How can the President not be an actor?” Only an actor, can provide the circuses part of the equation to keep the masses entertained. Trump proved his mettle in so-called reality TV – a particularly noxious form of entertainment that thrives on manufactured conflict to titillate the reptile brain.
Ah, but Trump is far from the only dangerous clown on the scene.
The UK has just handed an extraordinary mandate to a pompous entertainer in Boris Johnson. Like the orange makeup-stained Trump, he has a signature look with his wild tousled hair and pouty expression. BJ is at his best when feeding his warmed over Brexit treacle to the masses who are now so tired of the stalemate that they turn to a boorish clown to entertain and divert them while trying to best extract the country from the awful mistake they have made.
Less dangerous perhaps is Volodymyr Zelensky, now the notorious President of Ukraine. And as life imitates art, Zelensky’s rise to power was unimpeded by his complete lack of political experience — because he played the role of the president of Ukraine on a popular television sitcom. Martin Sheen is jealous.
Jimmy Morales, President of Guatemala, was also a sitcom actor before being elected in 2016. Among the characters he played during his TV career was a cowboy who accidentally becomes President. Oops! Accidents happen.