Although intended for live performances, the archaic writings of Shakespeare are immortalized through universal themes of the human experience. Shakespeare’s King Lear is one of such plays. In King Lear, there is a constant struggle between those who possess and desire power, which results in the suffering of people on both sides, even the innocent. Currently, this theme plays out in US politics. The dueling powerhouses are the Republican and Democratic parties. The means which they use to overpower one another creates victims out of those around them. They prioritize their supporters and slander those who identify with their opposition.
Prioritizing supporters over non-supporters’ livelihoods:
The reason Lear’s daughters, Goneril and Regan, take away Lear’s knights and servants, is because it disarms him of his power, with which he mattered. After unarming Lear, the daughters banish and leave him with nothing and no one. This is advantageous for the sisters since there is now no threat to their reign, and because they no longer have to deal with Lear, who they did not care about. Similarly, parties decisively target populations to ensure votes. Both parties put so much effort into campaigning in swing states, where votes aren’t guaranteed. The parties’ vessels, politicians, woo their audience with an image of empathy and care. On the other hand, unless prompted – untrendy, voiceless, and uncared for groups are constantly overlooked, especially when they support the parties opponent. A party wouldn’t want to give people resources who they deemed undeserving or simply don’t care about. Also, sometimes politicians neglect groups because they don’t see any advantage in helping them.
The mistreatment of ‘opposition’ in the USA’s social community is asserted by standardized slandering of the ‘other’. Rhetoric is extremely influential, as such it is often used to possess power. Considering both parties’ ambitions, it is unavoidable for them to not weaponize rhetoric. They insult each other by portraying one another as stupid and evil which negatively shapes their followers image of the targeted group. It generates hate and fear, which can and has been used against one another. It was easy for Lear’s own daughters to dispose of him when they found him old and crazy. Edmund deceived Edgar and Gloucester which turned them against each other, even when both had done nothing bad to one another in person. Similarly, the toxic fumes and gossips that sides spawn, creates an image of a threat, which one has never met.
People make sacrifices to maintain power. The means which they utilize way too often harm those around them. But as long as these people have their servants and knights, they will not stop.