It’s Wednesday, June 8, 2016, the day after the California primary. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. And each party is telling me that the other’s nom is the devil. Does anyone believe that? Does anyone truly believe that a fool is more dangerous than a crook, or visa versa?
I’ve written about how much I dislike and distrust Hillary Clinton. My wife has said that I should write about something else. At the very least, she’s told me, I should write about why I like Bernie and not why I dislike Hillary. To her first suggestion, I like writing about politics. I love the policy, the compromise, the function of government, the minutia and the strategy. To her second point, I see little need to write about the virtues of Bernie Sanders; they’re evident for everyone to see. (And if you’re too biased to see them, that is your issue not mine.)
I have also written — my last post, in fact — about why the Revolution Bernie Sanders edged forward should continue, about my desire to be part of it, about why we all have to be part of it. Yet right now that feels ludicrous.
Maybe what I’m feeling is nothing more than the fourth stage of grief (depression — or maybe I’m still at the second stage, anger), but as I watched Hillary last night in her finest armor-like attire, the output of her speech writers dripping from her lips, it was like a rerun of a bad sitcom of which I know the plot and how it ends. And its simplistic storytelling disgusts me. Still I continue to watch (since there’s only one channel) and hope I’m wrong and that the pablum ending isn’t as I remember. But I can tell you now that it will be exactly as I remember. Because it’s a rerun. Because it’s the same script. Only the gender has changed.
Make no mistake, what we witnessed last night and will witness through November and on to January 21st is made-for-TV programming. It was created to be our entertainment. It was designed to excite us, soon to thrill us, then to soothe us. It was created to convince us that fiction is non-fiction. But when it’s over, as with any sitcom, the world will be the same.
There are few people in Washington whom I believe, but Paul Ryan is one. I don’t agree with his polities or their Ayn Rand foundation, but he believes in his mission. And you gotta respect that even if you don’t like his angle. He’s not fucking around. He tries. He has integrity. He’s not one of those guys who subscribes to Tea Party bullshit. Nor is he in this to make the rich richer. He thinks his approach to policy is dead on correct, so he eschews game playing and gets to work. He’s the GOP’s Bernie Sanders. His eye is on the prize. And those two men make me think that solving this mire in which we find ourselves has less to do with party or even philosophy than with character.
But to believe there is a solution is to assume there are enough men and women of character to save us, that America will recognize them when we hear them, that we’ll vote for them after they speak. That’s a hell of a leap; an honest man just lost the Democratic nomination and a dishonest couple won it, and across the aisle an utter fool won the Republican nod — and that as Americans had the internet at their fingertips. Oceans of information rested just beyond their screens. It was all the data they needed to make correct choices, but they didn’t bother to use it. The result is a walking talking tribute to Nixon’s Southern Strategy: Donald Trump representing all the southern bigotry Fox News and the Tea Party can vomit up, the Democratic nominee sporting the spitting image of Tricky Dick’s id in a pantsuit.
Our country is broken. Broken shit eventually crumbles. And if America doesn’t vote-in leadership with integrity, we will become Times Square circa 1975. But it won’t be downtown New York City that lies in repose, its legs wide for all the lowlifes with the cash to buy-in. It will, instead, be the remains of what was once the greatest nation on the planet.
America needs men and women of honor to step up and serve. And voters must educate themselves about the issues and the candidates. Reruns are no longer an option.