“A Comedy of Errors” is one of William Shakespeare’s plays and, like many other plays, draws most of its humor from the idea of mistaken identities, human nature, and bad behavior. The title itself is often used as a way to direct our attention to a particular series of events making the outcome often tragically amusing even though it can be at the expense of others and has serious consequences.
Ironically, we find ourselves at a place within the ethos of our contemporary “politics” that feels bizarrely close to a series of unfortunate events that are all at once strange, historic, unprecedented and comic in a satirical kind of way. As a nation, we have waited with bated breath for The Mueller Report to be released so that ALL of the questions surrounding our President, and whether or not he and/or any of his close aides and advisors were involved in conspiracy, collusion or obstruction against the United States could be answered.
In this highly charged political season, the fact that the report itself has created more questions than answers and more confusion than clarity has thrown us all into a real conundrum that truly feels like political theatre and high drama. It is a classic demonstration of satire, farce and comedy all rolled into one. We’ve been travelling down this road for over 2 years now and it feels like we are no closer to the end of the journey than we were when we first began. It’s ironic and sad, but if you play the “tapes” from the last 36 months there are some hilarious sound bites and you cannot help but find humor in where we find ourselves now.
History’s assessment of this particular chapter in American political theatre will be telling. We are currently living through news cycles “as if” we were in a Shakespearean play or a network television series and that, in and of itself, speaks volumes as to the surrealism of this moment. The continuing saga of “creating a more perfect union” and the formidable work of reconciling our nation’s platitudes and beliefs with its practice, policy and procedures is both necessary and instructive. And yet, for the most part, nothing has changed.
Americans are as divided as we were when the Special Counsel was first appointed. No one’s mind has been changed by the report and there appear to be no new revelations in it. However, what has changed is this. What the Office of the Presidency has always stood for and our expectations of how a president should conduct themselves while serving as the President of the United States have been so deconstructed and reinterpreted that how we look at the office itself and the person elected to that office have been irrevocably altered.
When the rules no longer matter. When facts are no longer facts and truth becomes a relative assessment. When the standards and practice of decency and decorum are no longer set high enough to be admired and embraced by the values for which we as a nation want to be known, we are no longer exceptional. Instead, we are in a very sunken and demoralized place in America. When we keep lowering the bar and there is no line that cannot be crossed. When morality, integrity and behavior consistently come into question and all we can say is it’s NOT illegal, we have lost our way and changed what it means to be the “light on the hill.” We have changed what we aspire to be and settled for mediocrity instead of Greatness.