If there's one repugnant corporate media cliche that is absolutely true, it's that partisanship in the US is at an all-time high.
The people of the United States have bought into the political narratives televised on Time Warner and News Corp. We have willingly marinated our brains in red and blue petrol. We have transformed ourselves into drooling cult members who despise our family members for joining the other cult across the street.
We have become the worst professional wrestling fans in the world.
To be sure, there are many political issues that are all-too-real, and that do have tangible consequences for living, breathing human beings.
Likewise, some professional wrestling storylines are real.
But, for the most part, the politics that most of us consume on a daily basis is virtually indistinguishable from professional wrestling.
We cheer the "good guys" and boo the "bad guys." Opponents cut promos against each other and do battle either in the ring or on the debate stage. Big, attention-grabbing storylines are scripted by backstage producers who also anticipate how the audience should react.
Many, many observers have noted the similarities between WWE and mainstream American politics over recent years -- notably Aaron Oster at Rolling Stone, Elizabeth Vos at Disobedient Media, Teodrose Fikre at Ghion Journal, just to name a few.
Still, there is one distinguishing feature:
Most professional wrestling fans know that what they are watching is fake.
Most political zealots think that what they are watching is real.
And, worse yet, they are getting more and more invested in the matches.
We know this from our own lives with the political arguments we have over Thanksgiving dinner. And we have seen people with otherwise sharp minds buy into deranged conspiracy theories about Jill Stein working for Russia and QAnon preparing us for "The Storm."
At its worst, this results in street brawls between Antifa and the Proud Boys, and other more severe acts of political violence.
One can hardly imagine, even at the height of wrestling's popularity, that Hulk Hogan fans and Ultimate Warrior fans would've assaulted each other in the street.
So, again, when standing a wrestling fan and a political junkie side-by-side, it's pretty clear which of the two is more discerning.
For that reason, it's probably a good thing that the 2018 election ended in a stalemate -- or, if you prefer, a double-count-out. Had it gone strongly in either direction, we might be enduring a sustained, shrill, months-long social media shriek about how either Putin or Soros hacked the vote.
Instead we're being spared all of that until 2020.
So what is to be done to repair this partisan divide? How do we bridge the gap between MAGA and The Resistance?
In a word, we need to stop being marks.
(In professional wrestling, a "mark" is a fan who actually believes what he or she is seeing is real. This is the opposite of a "smart," someone who knows that the show is scripted.)
We have to get past all of the fake debates, the fake political storylines, and the ultimately-meaningless wedge issues and conspiracy theories that are meant to funnel us into one of two acceptable camps.
Here's a good litmus test: if you believe that the solution to our problems is to vote for either Republicans or Democrats, you are a mark. This hasn't worked, it won't work, and it's not supposed to work.
In fact, the Republicans and Democrats agree on most important issues, and most notably, US foreign policy.
Both parties have gladly supported military "interventions" around the world that have resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent civilians.
Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria... the list of nations that the US has bombed and/or invaded in the past few decades covers most of the known world.
Innocent human beings (usually poor, brown people) in those countries died. Men, women and children. Lungs stopped breathing. Hearts stopped beating. Minds stopped thinking. Innocent people died. All for the cause of US hegemony.
That -- along with a concurrent assault on the civil liberties of all American citizens and a whole lot of institutionalized fraud on behalf of the oil, financial and pharmaceutical industries -- should give us more than enough direction on what needs to be done.
Many of our political leaders -- the ones who played a key role in causing the needless death and suffering of untold millions -- should be imprisoned for their actions.
Trump. Obama. Both Clintons. Both Bushes. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Kerry, Albright, Kissinger, and that entire jabroni class of war criminals should be put behind bars.
That would be an actual development in US politics. That would be a true, genuine shift away from the partisan (falsehood) and towards justice (truth).
What jury would not convict them? What reasonable person would look at the mountains of public evidence of pathological liars signing off on indiscriminate droning of villagers and not think they deserve even just a few years behind bars?
Funny then how nothing even close to that idea ever gets even one second in the US media. Funny how we don't even hear a neutered condemnation of both parties or the fact that we are still in Iraq nearly 16 years after fake WMD lies first sent us there. Funny how all that we hear from the Rachel Maddows and Chuck Todds and Sean Hannitys is how we need to keep cheering one side and booing the other.
Because politics is fake and everything about it is an exercise in falsehood.
Vince McMahon will gladly acknowledge that his product is scripted.
Don't expect Rupert Murdoch to do the same.