Theory, conspiracy theory or healthy cynicism?
The following bolded sentences helped me understand U.S. politics.
"Follow the money." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Follow_the_money
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked
"Cui bono" (Who benefits?) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cui_bono
"I have the ability to hit almost anything I intend to hit. So, if you see me hit something, know that I hit it because I aimed at it. And, if you see me miss something, know that I intended to miss it." (My encapsulation of a concept that leapt out from Along Came Jones and smacked me between the eyes in a quasi-Purple Rose of Cairo moment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Along_Came_Jones_(film); https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Purple_Rose_of_Cairo
"Flip the paradigm." (Something I heard Montel Williams say.)
Understanding the words "money" and "salary" in the above sayings literally often explains a lot, but not everything. Maybe the benefit being sought is job security, or a feeling of belonging to a community. Maybe it's respect. Maybe it's power. Maybe it's being praised, admired or hero worshipped. It's anything the seeker wants or needs.
Much of my confusion about politics came from society's brainwashing, including school, and my inherently gullible nature. I assumed we paid taxes so that our leaders, and most particularly Democratic politicians, could fight to make life better for most Americans. All too slowly, I began flipping the paradigm society had ingrained in me and, instead, following the money, noting its sources and who benefited from it (and why and how), etc. Now, I think most politicians are using us and our tax dollars to live well while trying to make their own lives much, much better. Unfortunately, that often directly conflicts with improving the lives of most Americans. Also, when politicians seem to be messing up because they don't know better or because of circumstances beyond their control, they are, in reality, hitting more or less what they intended to hit and missing what they intended to miss. They just don't want us to grok that.
I don't think all the above is true of 100% of all politicians all the time. Few humans are 100% of anything all the time, are they? However, because I have been brainwashed and because I am so gullible, I probably should assume that most contemporary U.S. politicians are self-serving most of the time. Example: Assuming that the Presidency and Congressional majorities are the goal of the Democratic Party and almost every politician in it would be eminently reasonable, right? Yet, the evidence this go round simply doesn't support that conclusion. Democrats in power ignored--very cohesively, very stubbornly and very "in your face" ignored--all evidence that Hillary Clinton was likely to lose the general election; and, even if she won, her coattails would be very short, at best. Rather, all the evidence seems to say they wanted the Oval Office to go to either the Republican nominee or to Hillary, not simply to "the Democratic nominee," whoever he or she might be. Why might Democrats want that? I merely ask; answers are beyond my powers. But, I'm guessing big business and/or big money is involved, simply because one or both usually is.
The unexamined life is not worth living.
While we're examining: Was Hillary's concession speech, really as gracious and unifying as media immediately cracked it up to be? I know only my immediate impression of her concession speech was very different from that of the pundits and politicians who instantly praised it lavishly.* And, as Lawrence O'Donnell, producer of the The West Wing, just happened(?) to mention last night, and Joe Scarborough also just happened to mention this mourning, she wore "traditional mourning colors." (Bubba, too.) That wardrobe choice is in marked contrast to the bridal white pantsuit she wore to accept the Democratic nomination, as though America's bride had become America's widow. FWIW, I didn't see Obama's speech as wholeheartedly cumbaya, either. For example, he said some might see Trump's election as going backward. If that's gracious and statesmanlike, what might a subtle pot shot have sounded like? http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/mr-subliminal-cold-opening/...
I was intended to see both speeches as nothing but generous, statesmanlike unity, though. I know that because media can't stop saying how gracious and touching and yadda yadda they were. Nonetheless, both speeches and the way that they were delivered reminded me of "Senator McCain and I are ready for that 3 a.m. phone call. Senator Obama isn't;" and that sounded like a dog whistle to PUMAs. Also, the incredible amount of self-examination in which MSNBC has been engaging over why media incorrectly assumed Hillary would win the general exceeds by many orders of magnitude the amount of self-examination in which media engaged over having helped Bush the Lesser lie the country to lie us into the Iraq War, which ranged from zero to six seconds' worth. Draw from that contrast whatever conclusions you will (or none at all).
Just for giggles, though--and who doesn't love giggles?--you might even question last night's spontaneous(?) anti-Trump demonstrations in blue cities. MSNBC covered them for hours on end--and rationalized them. Rationalized them, not very long after excoriating Trump about accepting the results of this very election, even if he suspected tampering. Maybe the demonstrations were indeed purely organic, from Oakland to Boston, but should we just assume that automatically? If not, who had an interest in getting them started and for what benefit? And why is "peaceful transiton" of power, something we've had with little to no mention since Adams took over from Washington, suddenly such a huge issue that heard it said this morning maybe a hundred times before nine a.m.?
Evening of accepting the nomination at the Democratic National Convention
Day of concession speech