Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

The politics of performance.  What can be more frustrating than observing what politicians do or say?  Like soap operas, we often see them giving a performance, in essence, acting, and saying things that they really don’t believe. This is especially so in this era of social media, and when cable channels provide access to special, isolated audiences. 

It may be true that we see and hear them, but in truth, they are strangers to us. They are often motivated by money, donated by those special audiences.  But more often by fear,  seen with remarkable clarity in the case of former U. S. president Donald Trump and his menacing minions.  Trump may not effectively get people elected, but he can drive someone out from a primary election. 

For fear of him, politicians bow and scrape and beg. Like peasants before their lords, they serve their political master as if their political lives depended on his favor. They offer a false, yet full sounding praise of him while snickering behind his back. Rarely has performance been so servile,  and as their affections are false, so too are their hatreds, which are but more performances played with bare teeth. 

Yet, as Alexis de Tocqueville  noted over almost 200 years ago,  “when it comes to political parties, their antipathy is all too real.”  De Tocqueville, who visited America in the 1830s, wrote as follows: “The parties by which the Union is menaced do not rest upon abstract principles but upon temporal interests. These interests, disseminated in the provinces of so vast an empire, may be said To constitute rival nations rather than parties.”  Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America.  With love, not fear.  This is Mumia Abu Jamal.  These commentaries are recorded by In Prison Radio.