Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: What ‘Game of Thrones’ Says About Our Election Nightmares


Source: Time

BY Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA champion and league Most Valuable Player. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Writings on the Wall.

The last two episodes of Game of Thrones serve as a perfect parallel of the meh attitude of a majority of Americans toward our presidential choices: one brought back from the dead (of 2008) and the other wanting to feed his enemies (journalists, Mexicans, Muslims, women) to the dogs. The show is a subtle panorama of the American political landscape: how the sins of the ambitious political “parents” are visited upon the heads of their children; how the manipulation of politics by the “High Sparrow” of the religious right undermines freedom; and how the crucial differences in female and male approaches to problem-solving draw out our biases when it comes to selecting leaders.

The world of Thrones is no country for young men—or young women. The savagery is constant. Brutality is a consistent theme in politics, too: a medieval generational trickle-down of carnage and vengeance. Cersei Lannister’s (Lena Headey) scorched-earth policies have resulted in the deaths of all her children, despite her ascendance to the throne she always craved. Yet, she is also the product of an overbearing and ruthless father, Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), whose willingness to sacrifice his son Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) for political expediency, ended with his son avenging himself by killing his father while he sat on the toilet.

The moral for Americans? When we don’t learn from the mistakes of those who came before, we inherit a legacy of ignorance and are condemned to repeat mistakes with the same tragic outcomes. Many Bernie Sanders supporters believe he is someone who can break this cycle of venal self-serving politics with his bold proposals. Oddly, Trump’s supporters profess the same hope, despite the fact that everything about his campaign screams, “Release the Kraken!” not political reform. They are like the followers of the evil “bastard” Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), who, despite assassinating his father, and raping, castrating or torturing nearly everyone else, still follow him into battle like wind-up toys, all springs and gears with no analytical ability.

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