Mar 062011
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

As Americans, it’s about time we had higher standards for our politicians. Special interests and corporations practically own D.C., pushing laws through their well-funded puppets, swaying and borderline falsifying scientific research to make their side look good. It’s efficient, granted, but it’s not nearly entertaining enough –– we must demand more.

Recent local news indicates how terribly boring it can be when politicians aren’t really giving it their all. See if you’re still awake by the end of the explanation. Chairman Larry Carillo of the Larimer County Republican Party resigned following a series of paperwork errors that would disclose the campaign finances during 2010. This resulted in the largest fine in the history of Colorado related to campaign, finance, and …

Hey, wait, come back from the Sudoku. The point here is this relatively minor corruption isn’t near the rock-star levels in D.C., and we’re already jaded to that. A senator could snort cocaine off the back of a baby seal, grind the whole thing up and feed it to children, and we’d be mildly pleased that a politician had finally done something about the poor quality of meat in school lunches.

Some people would say the corruption and the acceptance of corruption is the problem. While that may be true, it’s not going away any time soon. The empire of information control is too well spun to be undone, and the vast, dogmatic acceptance of lies is too tightly controlled to allow real reform.

Not you or your information outlet of choice, of course. They’re honest.

Corrupt politicians aren’t going away any time soon, so we’ll learn to live with them. But the least we deserve is better entertainment. The plot turns are predictable –– of course that opponent of same-sex rights has a secret man-harem. They did that last season! And yes, the energy council chairman has a yacht powered by dogsled-team like configuration of other yachts.

It’s not about scale –– it’s about human drama. This is why reality TV is so popular. You could spend millions on writers, actors, special effects and promotions, but this path is for suckers. Instead, get a bunch of vapid, self-absorbed airheads, lock them someplace and tell them only one of them can be a real winner.

The only place we’re seeing this is in the governmental fan-fiction spewed by news networks. Fan-fiction, for those unfamiliar, is the act of taking an already existing story and adding events or characters, like a story about how Spock and Luke Skywalker might become super-best friends.

The government has an extensive bit of fan-fiction, pumped out daily by determined networks, that give us the drama we crave and fill our need for entertainment. Politicians don’t attend celebrations –– or do but wear the wrong tie –– and this is a vastly important message that is scrutinized for every possible hint of interesting scandal. When the actual scandal comes along, the news folks grow bored because numbers are hard and legal concepts are confusing.

This is the sad situation we find ourselves in. The politicians, who are by nature corrupt, are failing to entertain us, and the media, who should find corruption, instead seeks to entertain us.

The Larimer County Republican Party should be ashamed to present us with this level of scandal –– a simple mistake with minimal consequences that they seem to be owning up to. It’s hardly worthy of D.C. standards at all.

In D.C., the paperwork would have been intentionally misfiled or perhaps written as a tax write-off, and instead of resigning, the chairman would have taken the money and given a press conference on how it wasn’t his fault from the lobby of a Hawaiian hotel. As a media vulture, I feel I should have been presented with at least this much to work with.

Instead, I get some misfiled paperwork and a resignation without scandal. What’s the world coming to if this is our new standard?

Johnathan Kastner is in his second year of his second bachelor degree, majoring in computer science. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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