One of the saddest aspects of the current election process is that it has been so trivialized. The mudslinging this time around seems to be much worse than usual, though, of course, it’s bad enough in every cycle. With each candidate calling his opponent everything but a wiccan or some other personification of evil, especially considering the outright lies involved, the voter concludes that he is being marginalized because of his presumed ignorance while the candidates trivialize the whole process.
Or…take the appearances of the political celebs on various and sundry talk-shows. The president, in an obvious effort to shore up his weak party, made the unbelievable mistake of appearing on Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart, playing straight man to Stewart’s jibes/mugging and merely looking silly in the effort, hemming and hawing and hamming it up for the crowd, trivializing his own office. Without a teleprompter, he’s toast.
The prez has also done the other shows – Tonight with Jay Leno; the Late Show with Letterman, CBS’s highest-profile self-admitted adulterer (high-class company); Oprah, with Oprah (big White House Christmas show); but perhaps the worst, The View, with the ladies corralled by Whoopi and Barbara, featuring as much cheesecake thigh and cleavage as possible to go along with their inanities. Okay…I’ve seen only brief clips of these shows but I get the picture. Exercises in trivia!
The media helps in trivializing the process by letting celebs (especially Hollywood types) appear on their programs and in the papers spouting words of wisdom as if they are to be taken more seriously than the average joe, who probably knows more about life than they ever will in their make-believe world, where the biggest news of a day might have to do with the latest starlet to get pregnant or enter detox or both. Who cares, for instance, if Sean Penn delivers a broadside against this country from Venezuela? Jimmy Carter makes a practice of that…or at least he did until Obama came upon the scene.
Candidates often display their unfitness for office by doing desperate things that are so transparent to voters that guffaws are the result. The two democratic candidates in Kentucky furnish two examples. Senate wannabe democrat Jack Conway cited a college prank that his opponent, Rand Paul, helped pull off when he was around nineteen…accused Paul of kidnapping a poor girl but, of course, provided no proof, not even a misdemeanor citation.
House sixth-district incumbent Ben Chandler dug up an episode concerning his opponent, Andy Barr, from his college days when Barr, then nineteen, committed surely the worst felony in history by flashing a false ID in order to buy some booze in Florida on spring break back in the long ago day. Barr didn’t mention this in connection with a state job…but so what? A DUI would have been juicier but, alas, no such was available. At least neither democrat accused his opponent of wife-beating but it’s a lead-pipe cinch that they looked for some mayhem. Republicans pull the same stuff, of course. The point: TRIVIALIZATION of the government!
Outright chicanery (probably criminal) was carried out at least twice this year on the part of former POTUS William Jefferson Clinton. Republican-turned-democrat-for-the-sake-of-holding-his-seat Arlen Specter was in a tough primary-fight with Congressman Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania. Specter was Obama’s choice – nothing better than a turncoat republican in grovel-mode. Clinton (denials all around) “suggested” to Sestak that he skip the primary and accept a job in the administration, thus making Specter a shoo-in in democrat stronghold Pennsylvania. Neither Clinton nor Obama knows much about the military man (Clinton loathes the military) and couldn’t have known that Sestak, a former USN vice admiral, would not just drop off the radar. Sestak won.
So…just the other day, former POTUS Clinton made a trip to Florida to help the democrat, Kendrick Meek, win a Senate seat. W-e-l-l…not exactly, according to the scuttlebutt. Florida Governor Crist, recently turned from republican to independent after losing the republican primary to Rubio (using political Specter-philosophy), and a recent visitor to the White House, is Obama’s choice, the assumption being that Meek’s chances are zilch but he could help the cause by dropping out and JUST MAYBE split the vote only two ways, with Crist slipping by and caucusing with the democrats. This didn’t work, either
And then there’s the chicanery in Alaska. Incumbent republican senator Lisa Murkowski lost the primary to Joe Miller so she naturally did what any good senator would do – mounted a write-in campaign the better to split republicans and throw the election to the democrat. More than 100 other Alaskans registered as write-ins, apparently at the urging of a talk-show host. This is super-trivializing of the process…and it stinks. Of course, Murkowski is not as easy to spell as Jones but a girl can’t ask for everything.
Yeah…among the obscene layouts of cash, flagrant lies, pettiness, and outright skullduggery in high places, the process dreamed up by the founders for serious reasons has devolved into a silly season…trivia to the nth degree.