Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Why watching the GOP presidential debate is like hitting your elbow with a hammer

I watched the Republican presidential candidate debate on TV last night, not because I felt compelled but because it was on while I was eating dinner and taking a break from my work.

It was great reality TV.

A bunch of (mostly) guys getting together to try to outmaneuver each other towards winning the grand prize. In "Survivor" it's a million bucks or something like that. (My wife watches it. I don't, unless again it's on when I'm eating dinner.)

In politics the grand prize is the presidency of the United States, the leader of the free world, the (arguably) most powerful position on the planet.

But in the quest for the Republican nomination for president it's devolved into … what? The aforementioned reality TV contest? Into something out of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" where the Presidency of the Universe has been imparted to Zaphod Beeblebrox, an individual who has two heads (when needed) and three arms (when needed), and who defines himself as being so laid back he can barely see over his navel?

Watching these Republican candidates debate is like hitting yourself on the elbow with a hammer: You don't know whether to laugh or cry.

You laugh because they are so absurd: a bunch of clowns posturing to attract the most "likes" on facebook and ultimately the most votes in precinct caucuses and primaries.

You cry because these clowns are actually, seriously candidates for president of the United States. My God, is this the best the Republican Party can offer?

Okay, there are, I think, two relatively credible candidates among the bunch: Jeb Bush and John Kasich. But they must compete with the attention-demanding self-aggrandizers on the stage, most notably Donald Grump — oops! Trump — and Ted Flooze — oops! Cruz. This means that the credible candidates, Bush and Kasich, feel they need to stoop to the level of the crazy others. The whole thing makes me think of the all-too-ubiquitous swine manure lagoons we have in Minnesota.

All in all, the situation is very sad. America once boasted great leaders. The founders of the United States, steeped in the teachings of the 18th century enlightenment; knowledgeable in the latest science of the day — indeed, contributors to that science, as was Benjamin Franklin; believers in the rights of men (albeit flawed but since repaired); advocates for economic advancement despite birth circumstance.

Today's self-proclaimed Republican leaders are hardly enlightened, deny science, and actively promote the interests of the well-off over the basic necessities and well-being of the middle class and poor.

Has America devolved to this?

Regrettably, it has.

— LP


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