Generally, it is not so newsworthy that a business is forced to close. It happens many times a day in this country of entrepreneurs. But when the business is 146 years old, an icon in entertaining eight generations of Americans, it is not just another company that couldn’t make a go of it—it is a major loss to our culture.
Two months ago Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus folded its tents for the last time. The elephants and circus animals were sent off to preserves, the clowns, trapeze artists, costume makers, riggers, cooks, drivers, packers and myriad of staff who made the circus hum disbanded and went home permanently ending the longest consecutive run of any show. High costs and poor ticket sales were to blame.
But, Republicans came to the rescue! Hearing the plaintive cry of this wounded creature, the Republican Party rallied, not so much to save the Ringling but rather to promote their own circus. Yes, this was the perfect opportunistic moment for the Republican Circus to accept the mantle of “family entertainer”. This is how the previously “serious” political party was transmogrified into a TV reality show with its titular head, a true reality show host, at its leader. It is ironic that the Greatest Show on Earth was replaced by a man who promised the greatest show on earth. Now the White House is a side show and the Republican Circus, the main attraction erected its tents in Congress. These are the venues where big-cat tamers Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan can been seen whipping their over-sized felines into submission. In addition to the on-going FBI, CIA, NSA and other intelligence agency investigations, the ASPCA has opened a probe for suspected cruelty to senators and representatives. Stay tuned.
Sideshow celebrities from the past, the Bearded Lady, Tom Thumb, the Tattooed Lady, Alligator Man, Nellie the Dog Child, Woman with Two Heads, Siamese Twins, The Human Pin-Cushion, 5-Legged Cow, Butterfly Girl, Giraffe-Necked Woman and Elephant Boy have been replaced with a host of new freaks. Relocated to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., it features the Mascara Woman, Aryan Steve (Bannon who makes powerful men whimper with a mere glance), Alt-Reality King, Speechless Spicy (the mute press secretary) and his side-kick Sarah The Huckster, Guiltless Jared (who me?), Beauregard the Beagle (whose uncanny nose finds trouble) and the famous Lying Booth (where all advisors and staff are purge of the truth). The sideshow opened for business on Inauguration Day.
The circus has always been a place where mundane daily life is suspended for a few hours in place of a fantasy world. The President’s and his uneasy, but mostly willing, Republican cohorts feed the fantasy. Their version of healthcare alone goes beyond the caprice of fantasy and become delusion, perhaps hallucinations. This is a world where science doesn’t exist, where negative news is “fake” and where reality is bent in any direction the boss says. But, after all, isn’t this what a circus is all about? The phrase, Truth be told, will never be uttered at this circus.
Cotton candy anyone?