You’re gonna feel like shit in the morning….
What if we’re really not better than this?
I hear variations of that phrase all the time. As a nation we “deserve better”. Or we “deserve” Presidential candidates who act….well…..Presidential. Our kids “deserve better” than the reality show we’ve served up to them like so many TV dinners. We feel entitled to what a brain provides, even if we can shine a flashlight through our ears and light the opposite wall.. What gives?
We’re appalled. Shocked. Stunned. Or maybe just immune and bored. We see wrongs being done and don’t right them. We preach but don’t act. We kneel and pray, making sure, as long as we’re down there, to place our knees on somebody’s neck, all the better to curry favor with Jesus or Allah or Mike Pence or whoever the current deity is. Because it ain’t my fault. It must be somebody else’s. Like Syrian refugees or back-up quarterbacks or black men waiting with apparent gun-shaped books to pick up their sons at the bus-stop….or something equally 21st century. (amazing how the boogeyman keeps changing isn’t it?). Maybe we’re just lazy. Or astoundingly stupid.
Making the social media rounds today is a picture of a vendor at the Bloomsburg fair selling Nazi flags and Trump banners side by side….along with bumper stickers saying things like “Aids Cures Fags”. As chilling as the swastika itself is, its proximity to the Trump banner seems a bit…well…. I’ll leave the rest of you to work that out. Things that make you go “hmmm” and all that. (What I’d like to know is what kind of business the stand was doing, but nobody’s talking about that). It’s been pointed out that the stand did include Hillary banners as well……ones saying “Hillary For Prison”. So it’s not like the dude is a rabid partisan or anything.
Turns out the Fair had no idea the vendor was selling such reprehensible items….nor were they aware that the man who owned the stand is a convicted sex offender. So far that’s a batting average of .000. At least there’s nowhere to go but up from there.
The Fair, to its credit, has since booted the vendor, but not before Facebook removed many links to the story and photo that forced Bloomsburg’s hand, saying it was against user policy. So there’s that. Whatever would we do without Zuckerberg and his moral compass?
We deserve better, right?
Tonight is the Hillary/Trump debate….a spectacle that promises to out-circus the circus. It should prove a major rating winner to a nation still reeling from Brad and Angelina’s break-up. It promises to be great fun, especially to those playing the “pound a beer every time Trump lies” game, and to professional media pundits, who have set the bar so low that, unless Trump turns into a werewolf and starts drinking Lester Holt’s blood screaming “I told you it was rigged! Rigged I say!…..”, will declare the whole thing a tie and remind everybody what an unlikeable bitch that woman really is. I have no plans to watch, but I have no plans to rubberneck on the highway when I see a ghastly accident either. So who knows? Plus, who gives a shit about the Falcons and the Saints?
We deserve better, right?
My daughter is away at college and she asked me this morning, when she saw the Fair story, “why Dad? Why are people like this?”
What should I tell her? Hell….don’t blame me. I think Bernie is too far to the right, so what do I know? To me….candidates like Trump and Hillary are like monstrous Ralph Steadman caricatures from a Hunter Thompson novel. I think you’re ALL crazy.
That being said, I’ve been predicting Trump’s demise for well over a year now, sure that he had decapitated himself for calling John McCain a dumb pussy for being captured and tortured to within an inch of his life during the Viet Nam war….this was July 2015. Surely a Republican draft dodger could never get away with this! Ha! Not only did he get away with it, his numbers went up. It was this moment probably more than (many many) others that led me to being unable to answer questions like “why are people like this?” from my daughter….who radiates goodness and fairness and is desperately trying to not grow cynical before she’s legally able to order a beer. Because she knows that’s my job.
She’s 18 now, so it will be her first time in a voting booth. I don’t want her thinking that this type of visceral hate and rhetorical dumbing-down is the norm, but she’s smart enough to know that, sadly, it seems to be not only normal, but working gangbusters. Some things I can protect her from. Idiocy is not one of them.
We deserve better though, right?
Why? Are we somehow immune to history?
Sure hate is toxic, but it also sells. Flags from a county fair vendor and newspapers from a newsstand…..it’s all dollars and lack of sense. Who wants to hear sober policy wonking when you could be listening to the sound of raping Mexicans and the allahu akbar-ing of rabid US-hating Syrian refugees? Nuke ‘em all….just like Putin would. A serious leader and man’s man. Not like our….you know…not so white guy who was born Allah-knows-where and spawned that pot-head affirmative-actioned-to-within-an-inch-of-her-life Harvard kid.
So no, we don’t deserve better. A nation elects the leaders it asks for. So we deserve either Hillary or Trump…..and the pain either will cause will be self-administered. Don’t complain about the welts on your back if you’re into flagellation. I think Abraham Lincoln said that. Or Bob Dylan.
The fact that I’d vote for a rabid half-starved dingo living underneath a Dickson City meth-lab before I’d pull a Trump lever doesn’t mean I’m not partially responsible for his ascension. We’re all to blame. We allowed our democracy to come to this….and tonight we’ll witness the shit-show in all its unencumbered, tiny-fingered glory. Fact checking is not only discouraged, but actually against the rules! And no I didn’t make that up. Drink up boys and girls.
You’re gonna feel like shit in the morning. And you deserve it.
In a bit…..