Madonna’s recent travails have worked to her advantage. She has gotten more press coverage for being booed than anything else she has done in the past few years. She is a shrewd businesswoman, and if her recent gaffes have not been the result of a partial meltdown, they are coolly calculated.
If she has planned it all, she truly is relevant for this election year, but NOT in terms of her presidential choice. Rather she becomes a potent symbol of what this nation’s political life has become. Distortions of traditional symbolism mixed with meaningless new rituals become vehicles for a message as radical as it is trite. All of this bears a clear resemblance to electoral campaigning, and it means as much. The difference is that presidential and congressional candidates play the game for far higher stakes.
So too with Madonna’s spiritual quests. One of our national culture’s many vagaries is that while the myth of separation between Church and state has grown to where the judiciary will seemingly not rest until the last cross is plucked from veterans” memorials and every town square is manger-free at Christmas, most of us still demand personal belief from our politicos. We do not usually care what that belief is, so long as they have one. Although more and more of us claim to be spiritual rather than religious, we expect our presidents to attend services of some kind”this year’s clash of the titans is between an adherent of generic black Christianity and a Mormon. All of this doctrinal confusion is mirrored in Madonna’s mix-and-match religiosity.
Madonna’s free sexual lifestyle reflects the passion pit we call Capitol Hill. We go back to the electoral trough every two years, just as Madonna’s devotees always will, no matter how much she may shortchange or harangue them. Our leaders know we are suckers in the same way Madonna understands her own fan base. I pray that Madonna may one day head back to some sort of sanity, but I fear she accurately reflects our society and our leaders too much for that to ever happen.
Image of Madonna courtesy of Shutterstock
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