Pennywise's Game aka American Politics for 2016
Guillermo del Toro couldn’t do it better. Every four years, I vow to not get involved in the horror of what has become the American presidential race, but the bombardment is so invasive and the potential of having some of the morons actually get elected is so terrifying, that I usually succumb, since I’m a voting American citizen. It’s like watching a train wreck, or the nightmare of being on a roller coaster where the bolts are popping out of the track, waiting for the inevitable debacle. It would save time if some of these people wore costumes, like Freddy, Jason or Cruella deVille, or at least signs around their necks, like “Pro-life except for mommy”, “Jesus’s Sunbeam”, “What climate change?”, “Women are disgusting pigs” or “Immigrants are criminals”.
Watching the first Republican debate, I kept wanting to get up but still sat there and ate the forbidden chocolate, sort of like when your mom caught you sneaking Oreos and made you eat the whole bag. It left me feeling just as sick. One of these people could be the future leader of the free world? I used to say, “impossible” but I’m genuinely afraid these days. American politics has become so divisive, nasty, full of corruption and lies, and financed by the Koch brothers and others who buy elections, and the media who serve it up to us is no better, pandering and manipulating what we see and hear. Smoke, mirrors and soundbites without substance.
So far, this time around there’s the usual suspects like Cruz, Perry, Santorum, Paul, a Bush, and their ilk of wannabes, but then there’s Trump. In a world of sanity, his intrusion would remain the joke it is, but this is not that world anymore. Remember Reagan, the actor with no credentials at all? Trump is worse, a blowhard with no specifics except hate and insults, but with a lot more money, and therein lies the rub.
The Democrats haven’t had the opportunity to embarrass themselves yet, and there’s far fewer choices, but things don’t look stellar there either, unless you happen to like Hillary, who looks like the frontrunner. If she wasn’t married to Bill, it is doubtful she’d have gotten this far, but she remains the leader of the pack for now, and it isn’t much of a pack. Will America go for a ground-breaking woman president, when we just had a ground-breaking African-American president? The magic 8 ball is cloudy on that.
Technology and social media, the proliferation of so-called pundits and opinionators on every outlet, and frankly, a dumbing-down of the populace, have created a theater of the absurd. The Romans had gladiators, but at least they were honest about who got skewered, and why. We have some idiot who fries bacon on the barrel of his gun and others who lie about what they said only hours before, and all are accepted with a shrug and a smile. The art of critical thinking is, apparently, lost for most of the American public, to say nothing of plain common sense, and if we don’t reclaim at least one of those, we are likely to get what we deserve.
I had a nightmare of Trump, redfaced and spitting at Putin, calling him a vodka-swelling stupid Russian but then I woke up before the bloodbath started. Whew. It wasn’t as bad as the one where Trump makes Palin his running mate and they go on big game hunts together, but close. Ursula LeGuin called politics “noisy, self-righteous jackassery”. She couldn’t be more accurate. Keep your head up, America.