When I was a child, I made the mistake, as many children do, of thinking that the actors I saw in movies were in some way responsible for their lines. As the playwright Moss Hart heard from a lady sitting behind him: “Actors say the cleverest things!”
But it didn’t take me long to notice that while an actor can make good material great, he cannot make bad material good. If you give him stupid and implausible things to say, he will look stupid and implausible. He may or may not be aware of how he looks; that’s not his job: His job is to act the way someone tells him to act, and to say what someone tells him to say.
And that brings us to the picture of the G7 leaders on the beach in Cornwall. Nobody who watches the film of these people arriving, coming down the boardwalk carefully spaced, hygienically elbow-bumping in lieu of shaking hands, and finally taking up positions for their photo op—nobody would believe these people are world leaders. Because they aren’t. They aren’t running the western world. They are run by the people who really are running the western world—people whose names we don’t know. The people on the beach in Cornwall are there simply in recognition of the working man’s need to see an elected head of state. They are actors.
A Rasmussen poll in March found that just 47 percent of Americans believe Biden is actually doing the job of president. At least as many people believe the job is being done by some other person or persons behind the scenes. And that 47 percent who believe Biden is doing the job must think it’s an awfully easy one, since you don’t have to remember where you are or with whom you are speaking. Even as an actor, Biden’s powers are failing.
It is hardly more plausible that Boris Johnson, a man who looks and talks like a buttered scone, is actually determining policy in Britain. Remember his great pandemic speech: “I must give the British people a very simple instruction: You must stay at home. . . . If you don’t follow the rules, the police will have the power to enforce them . . .” That would have stuck in the throat of any real leader of any real democracy. Churchill would be vomiting in his grave. But Boris Johnson’s eyes were burning with earnestness as he relayed the instructions given to him by the civil service bureaucracy and whatever other hidden powers are running his mouth.
Justin Trudeau meanwhile seemed genuinely hurt when nobody liked his little Bhangra dance routine back in Delhi in 2018. It’s not entirely his fault: He was in Indian costume, and he slipped into the role. He forgot for a moment that his full time job was pretending to be a prime minister.
You could replace Biden with any Hollywood actor—George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep—and it wouldn’t make the slightest difference in how the country is being run or what policies are pursued. You could replace Biden with a paper cup. That might destroy the illusion (though not by much). Biden is a figurehead, rather more embarrassing than the Queen of England, and rather less powerful.
This evolving dissociation of leaders from leadership should worry us. Who is really deciding how to spend our taxes? Who is deciding to give infrastructure access to China, to cancel Keystone XL and American energy independence, to cashier military officers who won’t recite the woke pledge, to teach our children to hate their own skin? Who is running the country?
Return to the question of the pandemic, a phenomenon so far-reaching that it still affects how the head-of-state actors behave in public (of course they will shake hands and pat each other on the back when they’re offstage). Ask yourself which companies and which countries have benefited the most from this global catastrophe. The companies that made billions while you stayed home may have been operating out of simple greed. But the countries involved want more than money, which is why they don’t mind spending money to control political and cultural assets (like news outlets and Hollywood production companies).
Ask yourself this: Who are we most likely to fight against in the next war? There always is a next war. When we get there and when the fighting begins, who is going to be in charge at home, running America? Will it be another Joe Biden paper cup presidency? Or will it be too late even to matter?
If this does worry you, the way to correct it is by taking out the lowest rung of the corruption ladder. And that is not local Democrats but local Republicans: Weak and flaccid Republican politicians make Biden possible by cooperating with people who actively hate America. They cooperate out of a love of politics. They cooperate out of a desire to keep their jobs, even when their party is not in power. And some, no doubt, cooperate because they get paid to cooperate.
If you have Republicans representing you at the local and state level, know who they are and know how they acted after the 2020 election. If they have been willing to go along with the sham, if they’ve urged you to unite and move on, they need to go. They are America’s weakest links, the parts of our political system that make every other facet of corruption and fraud possible.
This is a tough thing to ask, because most Americans do not like to spend their time in politics. They have other things to do. They prefer building their own lives to bossing other people around. But we must force ourselves to get involved: Organize a campaign to recall every Republican who supported the election fraud either by action or inaction. Primary every Republican who is beyond recall. Leave not a man standing who did not stand for America.
The pandemic is just a taste of what’s to come. The 2020 election was our wakeup call. And the G7 summit—that’s just a reminder of what happens every day we allow actors to take the place of leaders.