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Monday, May 8, 2017

Big Brother House on Pennsylvania Ave.

I didn't watch Apprentice, or Celebrity Apprentice. I don't really watch any of those shows. It is not that I think there is anything wrong with them, they just don't appeal to me.

I can imagine, though, how a typical episode worked. You create friction, infuse it with tension, heighten it with competition and finally resolution. It probably had some hints of subterfuge and espionage, mostly for ornamentation rather than any really substance.

It is the same thing I learned from Ms. Stoltman in Creative Writing so many years ago. You can have as many dogs as you want, but only one bone. It has worked for years, for so many writers. Since I never saw the show I will not pretend to know if they were effective.

President Trump has seemed to take this practice to a nightmarish level. Everything has become a national crisis. We are surrounded by dangers that only he could expose, only he can solve.

North Korea has been a problem for years, and years to everybody in the world. Including, most tragically North Koreans. There is nothing new in the belligerence of Kim Jong 3.2. It is an isolated kingdom wrapped up in paranoia and mistrust. The thing they fear most is losing power, so they bluster and they posture, and they parade, and they threaten. And, they always have.

But, they are not a problem you can solve. You can manage it, like the last dozen or so presidents have. Or you can blow it up, and cause a tragedy of terrible proportions for uncountable people. It is not something you can bully away. Or tweet out of existence.

Most immigrants are just looking for a dream. A dream we have been selling for years, the American Dream, come make a life for yourself, be rewarded for the fruits of your labor. Refugees are normally just the opposite, they are running from a nightmare. Leave home or die, horribly is the choice so many of them face.

But, we package them as a scourge, a blight on our society, and we can manufacture a solution. It is so much simpler than facing the problem. Inequity, and destruction do not sell on prime time.

Now, we have reality television in the oval office. And it works a lot better if you take the complexity out of the equation, and package it as an easy solution. It works for television, but it hasn't translated very well to coherent national policy. I hope season two is better.