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Sunday, October 30, 2016

I’ve Had a Thought or Two on the Election – Thought I’d Share

Y’know, some things have been bothering me about this election campaign, our legislative people, both federal and state and our utterly self-absorbed press.
Let’s talk about the campaign. For starters, both major parties allowed people who were not party members to become members and hijack (or, in the case of the Democratic Party almost hijack) their nomination process. Hillary Clinton defeated Bernie Sanders by nearly a four to three margin (15.8 million to 12 million) in one of the bitterest, nastiest primary campaigns since Mayor Daley backseat-drove the party into the 1967 disaster in Chicago. The upshot was that it took weeks to get the party untracked and moving as a unified whole. Truth to tell, it has operated mostly like a V-8 engine with a dead cylinder for much of the presidential campaign.
Once she had the Democratic Party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton began running for president against a thirty-year compilation of attacks, accusations and innuendo created by Republicans out of whole cloth, rather than run for the office based on her real, substantial, substantive and successful record of public service and initiating change for the better. Old canards were dredged up (did you know f’rinstance, that there are no fewer than six, a dozen, perhaps twenty, you pick a number of bodies associated with the Clintons?) And now the e-mails, with the Director of the FBI writing an ambiguous letter to Congress and the Press jumping on a tweet from a TEA Twit and reporting that the e-mails are in play again, which they apparently aren’t really. Really!
However, compared to the Republican primary, the Democratic primary was a model of Party efficiency and brotherhood. The Republican Party had so devolved by this summer that a rump party calling itself the TEA Party (for Taxed Enough Already Party, although most of the people in the party were just taking Republicans up on their decades-long campaign to convince them that government should be free) was able to field or control most of the candidates. Once again we were subjected to the maunderings and absurdities of the painted occupants of the Republican Primary Election Clown Car. Each and every of these worthies, with one totally orange exception, were religious nuts who thought America should be a “Christian” nation, and should be governed under “Christian” principles and values—in short, America would become, if they could arrange it, a theocracy. Apparently no one learns from the mistakes of others any longer. These are the same people who are appalled at the excesses of Sharia (Islamic religious) Law.
The one candidate who did not preach this twisted gospel was Donald Trump, known familiarly as “The Donald,” who ran on a “Take America Back” – “Make America Great Again” platform, soon reduced to only its second half. Promising to “tell it like it is” and “speak only truth” he stood in front of adoring crowds and preached the evils of immigrants (especially from Mexico) and a general “them vs us” message. Unfortunately for Donald and his “speak only the truth” promise, according to all fact-check organizations (and anyone with a memory more than 12 hours long) his promised truths... weren’t. He lied all the time, about everything, to everybody. He lied so much that some of the most effective ads against him were clips of statements with the dates he made them, followed by a clip of him saying the complete and exact opposite. His solution to the “illegal immigration problem” is to re-establish President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback,” a “round ‘em up, pick ‘em up, pack ‘em on the bus (or train or ship) and drop ‘em off in Mexico“ plan that Eisenhower had to abandon because so many US Citizens were being hauled into Mexico and dumped. The Donald also suggested he would use nuclear weapons as tactical devices, and he invited Russia to inject itself into an American election.
So it comes down to this, of our two major candidates, one is so deeply flawed as to be disqualified as a candidate (if we had a disqualification process—which we don’t), and the other is bearing the gross burden of thirty years of accusation and innuendo offered without evidence or witnesses. And yet, the press, the talking head pundits as well as news and talk radio all act as if Hillary’s guilt by accusation were somehow equivalent to Donald Trump’s self-described venality, racism, misogynistic beliefs and remarks and downright stupid responses to questions of national security and international relations. And of course there are the charges of pedophilic rape and sexually assaulting women. This is just stupid. Any kind of public vetting by experienced journalists, especially editorial writers and Sunday Morning show hosts would have killed Donald Trump’s candidacy when it started. Any amount of investigative journalism would have discovered his habit of stiffing small contractors and workers, contracts be damned, would have turned up his assaults on women and would have reported it, I say this because I have no doubt the information has all been known or developed from the earliest days of his candidacy, but reporting it would have cut short the great controversies he created. And those controversies sold advertising in the news industry.
The press is neither liberal nor conservative. The press is venal. It doesn’t serve you and me. It serves the stockholders only. And the best way to make money for the stockholders during this election was to not do anything that would knock Donald Trump out of the race. And once that happened anyway, they caught a break. The Director of the FBI wrote and sent to the House committee that has been dealing with Hillary’s e-mails, whence it was condensed to a 140 character tweet. The entire body of America’s press moved on that inaccurate tweet and the result was a rapid reduction in the vote gap between Hillary and The Donald. They have their controversy again, and their behavior is right in the middle of it.