History Lessons

There are now five candidates still running campaigns for President. Three Republicans, two Democrats. The guy with the orange hair gets most of the media coverage. He was literally created by the media, having become quite successful as a reality TV creature in “The Apprentice”. Sure, Agent Orange has been a media favorite for a long time. He has hotels and casinos named–not after him, but named after him/by himself. He brags about being great at cutting deals and coming out richer for the effort. Never mind his documented business failures and bankruptcies. Hey, no one is perfect. This candidate for President is oh, so far from perfect, spouting blatantly xenophobic, racist, misogynistic pronouncements with seeming immunity granted by the mainstream media, which is ipso facto conducting a feast of folly for the ages. Yes, the “news” programs love Agent Orange.  And why not? The corporate media traffics in the superficial and sensational, not the the substantial and serious. Context? Analysis? Dream on. Sir Orange even asserted he can shoot someone and his followers would still stick with him, yet those mics and cameras gravitate toward him, pulled into his black hole of buffoonery and bluster day after day.  He’s won most of the come-and-gone primaries. Those polls reflect his popularity (!) among a certain (disturbing) segment of the American populace. It’s hard to imagine that he can win the Oval Office. However…

…I’m at the point where it seems possible. Note my recent blog entry asserting the documented voter suppression and the “strip and flip” theft of votes on electronic voting machines. But even with that, are there really enough xenophobes, bigots, misogynists and racists to elect him to be President? Well, that depends on how many of the potential voting public votes in November, especially those who have a reasonable grasp on our current grim reality. Agent Orange’s followers will absolutely make it to the polls. Make no mistake, there are millions and millions of Americans who reject this “colorful” candidate’s character. It’s not too hard for the rational, sensible voter-citizen to realize there is  a lot at stake in the November election, in all levels of national government.

Unless Agent Orange is somehow sabotaged at the Republican convention, it seems a fait accompli he will be representing the GOP  in that fall election. Not that the other GOP hopefuls are much less frightening!

But wait! There’s millions and millions of people who are excited about either Hillary Clinton  or Bernie Sanders. The media, however, doesn’t  fawn over either of them–especially Bernie–the way it does for Agent Orange. But between Hillary and Bernie, Ms.Clinton usually is the lead story as far as how the race for the White House is shaping up for the Democratic side of our alleged “two party” system of government.

At this point, Hillary seems to be on her way to the nomination. That’s what the media has asserted even before primary season started. Clinton. That name. Sure. Wife of ex-President Bill. Former New York senator and Secretary of State during Barack Obama’s first term as current President. By comparison, Bernie has come out from a political wilderness called Vermont where he ran and won a seat in his state’s senate proclaiming himself to be–of all things political–a socialist! Socialist? But when he announced his run for President in May of 2015, he was wise enough to run as a Democrat. A democratic socialist, to be precise The media first snickered at him, then virtually ignored his existence. But, if you are at all politically aware on this 23rd of March 2016, he is quite popular (thanks to social media and lots of individual donations, and none from corporate puppet-masters) and has won numerous primaries. Now, in spite of his initial lack of name recognition and the media’s dismissal of him, it had has no choice to at least, in dribs and drabs, acknowledge he not only does exist, but he speaks passionately and honestly, and has a detectable, palpable political pulse.

Neither Hillary or Bernie have any assurance at this point that they will get the nomination, though Hillary is ahead in delegates. But Bernie isn’t 37 lengths behind as they make the far turn and keep heading to the long stretch run, which include New York and California  the two primaries that have enough combined delegates at stake to keep things lively. The finish line is still a good distance ahead.

Here’s my concern: There are  scores of hard core Bernie supporters (and there are many, mostly flying beneath the mainstream media’s radar in regards to polling techniques) who really, truly dislike Hillary Clinton. She has the above noted political assets, but does come off as a bit of a hypocrite when trying to deny her corporate connections and “super pac” contributions, her military hawkishness and bizarre praise for nefarious political personaes such as the Reagans and Henry Kissenger. She panders pathetically to the Afro American voter who, ironically was done no favors when her husband joined republicans in gutting social/welfare/safety net programs, and championed NAFTA,  the trade agreement that sent scores of blue collar jobs out of the country. Evidently, based on the primary results racial breakdown, many Afro Americans believe Hillary’s promises to not be like minded in such matters. Berne calls her out on all these bits of history. Then she dodges, weaves, and deflects in a dissembling kind of well nuanced dance. Then, not-so-subtly she parrots some of Mr.Sander’s liberal ideas enough to add disingenuous to the list of unflattering adjectives used by her detractors to describe her characteristics on the campaign trail (I’m talking about the Sanders detractors, exclusively, at this point).

So, if Ms.Clinton is the nominee, and scores of Bernie true believers feel another kind of burn, one that hasn’t enough time to heal by ballot casting time, enough may refuse to vote for her (and vote Green, Independent, Mickey Mouse or whatever, or not at all) then with the red state voter suppression and theft, Agent Orange could–egad!–become…

I won’t blame Ms.Clinton, though, should this nightmare scenario come to pass. Nor will I blame the Sanders supporters. I’ll blame the absolutely terrible, corrupted election process in this country. The activist Court. The bought-and-paid-for congress. Bait-and-switch administrations past and present. Oh, and voter apathy…ignorance. The collective erosion of empathy…

Well, we shall see. Yesterday’s terror attack in Brussels provides fresh red meat for the Islam-a-phobes on the Right, adding energy to their fiery rhetoric of fear mongering. As has been shown in recent history, fear mongering works. Does it ever. Demonization. Divide and conquer. Iraq. Remember? A phony war by a phony president. Aided and abetted by a complacent and compliant mass media,  that shoulders plenty of blame if we go off a cliff.

It’s should be quite a summer. As a long-standing student of history,  especially in its political context, I’m hoping it doesn’t repeat itself in regards to certain shocking and regrettable outcomes. You know, those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. You bet. As James Joyce famously lamented: history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.









About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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1 Response to History Lessons

  1. catt23 says:

    So if the media moguls have their way, as they boost the “ratings” of their chosen contenders or “brands”, voters will have to choose between a reality star con man and a corrupt dynastic family. This branding of our democracy is a disgrace.


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