Since professional wrestling plays a prominent role in the lives of the goober crowd and is a secret guilty pleasure for many highly-educated professionals, it wouldn’t appear to fit in with a political commentary Website. Trust me, it does.
I have a nodding acquaintance with pro wrestling. I’ve had friends in the business. I’ve worked out with them and been in the dressing rooms during their matches. Most were Indie circuit workers in small towns, but a few hit the high-dollar big time of the WWE and other recognizable wrestling federations. I liked these guys, and yes, they were all males, though women abound in and around pro wrestling rings. George Clooney’s current squeeze, Stacy Keibler, worked big-time wrestling for about 7 years. She once participated in pro wrestling’s first bra and panties match.
What do such wrestling entertainment antics have to do with politics? Well, they’re both subcultures appealing to people whom, for whatever reason, suspend belief and reality for a given period of time. Though wrestling now bills itself as “sports entertainment”, a majority of its followers still believe with all their hearts that the punch to the jaw that missed its intended target by a good 6″ was real. And when the ‘recipient’ snapped his head back, the most rabid of fans would swear that his jaw was shattered even though he went on to wrestle another 20 minutes and worked a card in Denver the next night. Republican politics are like that. They throw the punch of “Obamacare” infinitely off the mark, but the true believer buys every last fake distortion.
Pro wrestling features ‘babyfaces’ (the good guys) and the nasty ‘heels’. The heel would stomp a babyface into a near-coma until the good guy suddenly came to and before you could say FAKE, it was 1, 2, 3; yet another pin for truth, justice and the American way. The fans could see these two hated each other with a passion. What they couldn’t see was that once the school auditorium, Legion Hall or whatever venue the match was held in was emptied of paying customers, the babyfaces and the heels would pile into an 8-year-old sedan and drive all night to their next venue, laughing, exchanging family stories and generally getting along famously like the friends that they were.
That’s what’s happening at the official conclusion of the current GOP primary and will continue on to the Tampa Republican Convention for the party’s nominee for president. The ‘heels’, who have said awful things about ‘babyface’ nominee, Mitt Romney (also a heel) are all going to pile into the same campaign car laughing, exchanging stories and pushing with all their might for a Romney presidency. Gingrich is already in the passenger seat, Perry’s in the back and Santorum’s hand is on the door handle. It’s just a matter of working out a few ‘deals’.
There’s at least one big difference between these wrestlers and right-wing politicians. The wrestlers respect their fans no matter their economic strata. Unlike republican politicians, they are not cynically disrespectful of the poorer fan base. They want to please all the people and give them the best show possible for being nice enough to come see them. They sincerely want their pubic to feel its gotten it’s money’s worth. In politics, Karl Rove, the Brothers Koch, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Romney and their ilk put on just as fake a show as their ‘rasslin’ brethren, but they don’t give one little damn about their ‘audience’ because they’re not trying to entertain their fans (voters)…they’re using them. They run TV commercials that are little more than electromagnetic waves of consummate BS. Like wrestling, their pitch is purely emotional. You don’t have to know a single law of kinetic energy to boo the latest WWE heel, just like you don’t have to know anything about the issues to fall for the manipulated and mostly false propaganda of the print and electronically marketed words of the corporate oligarchy that actually runs this country.
The Rove/Koch/ALEC/Corporatist are repeatedly trying to fool their fans with the babyfaces of God, Guns and Gays for the simple return of a vote. They use that vote to enrich the top 1% and that’s the end of their political charity. Do you really think tax cuts for the rich are going to give the average right-winger and his pea-pod per capita income anything of value?
Let’s further examine how these correlative undertakings of pro wrestling and pro politics impact the principal players. Pro Wrestling is a tough way to make a living. For every Hulk Hogan and ‘The Rock’, there are hundreds of wrestlers who fall prey to drugs and steroids and die way before their time. Former heavy steroid user and multi-concussed, brain-damaged, Chris Benoit, fatally smothered his wife, his seven-year-old son and in a final tragic gesture, killed himself by hanging. In a note later found in Benoit’s bible, he wrote, “I’m preparing to leave this earth.” Benoit was 40.
Some years, more than a dozen wrestlers die prematurely before age 50 through suicides, drug use and steroids or by going to sleep at the wheel, exhausted as they drive to their next venue.
The analogies between the lamentable deaths of pro wrestlers and the death of a once-great democracy are inescapable. We’re facing the potential death of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by SCOTUS. Is there a better health care option out there? Not on your life (maybe quite literally).
Ongoing donut hole reductions alone will save Medicare recipients $4,200 over the next 10 years. But if ACA dies, that reduction is lost. You also get to go bankrupt over medical bills, just like before ACA. The new head of the South Carolina Public Health Department just fired 9 employees preparing for the predictable June Supreme Court mandate announcement. North Carolina retirees are suing over not being allowed to change health care plans. Women will be SOL as post-ACA, insurance companies will return to the quaint practice of charging the ladies much more for health insurance than their male counterparts.
Do you think the death of public education by privatization is going to enrich anybody other than the corporations that own the schools? Is the slaying of even more financial and environmental regulations going to benefit the average person AT ALL?
So the similarities are clear but there is one other major difference between professional wrestling and politics. One is an honorable profession; the other, as currently practiced by the right-wing, is anything but!