The Pathetic State of the Races

Tonight brings the latest episode in Donald Trump’s highly-rated reality show, also known as the second debate of the Republican Party’s presidential nomination race, and it’s as good a time as any to note that the Democratic Party’s less-watched show is just as appalling.
In one of those surprise plot twists that any half-attentive viewer could have seen coming from a mile away, the sudden front-runner in the Democratic race suddenly seems to be the self-described socialist and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He’s still frequently described as a “long-shot” by most of the media, who with the same hopefulness occasionally use the same term for Trump, and the consensus of pundit opinion is still that former First Lady and Senator and Secretary of State and presumptive-first-female-president Hillary Clinton will somehow survive all the scandals her resume has to offer and eventually wind up in a successful race against some more-or-less establishment Republican or another. This strikes us as an unlikely scenario at this point, and not just because it’s too boring to generate any ratings. This Sanders character, on the other hand, inspires all sorts of intriguing and yet oddly plausible plot lines to grip the public’s attention.
On Monday Sanders spoke at the self-described conservative and Christian and Rev. Jerry “Moral Majority” Falwell-founded Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the speech lived up to its fish-out-of-water possibilities. Although the presumably anti-abortion, pro-same-sex-marriage, and reliably left on every other social issue Sanders was preaching to the wrong choir at Liberty he was nonetheless treated with a quiet consideration of his views and a respectful round of applause at the end of his rambling and insane speech, quite unlike the treatment that a pro-abortion, anti-same-sex-marriage, and really right on every other social issue conservative speaker might expect at almost any other university. The speech and its civil reception didn’t get nearly so much coverage as The Donald’s latest “tweet” about some woman’s ugliness and how he bangs hotter broads all the time, but it’s just as disturbing in that ironic way that modern television viewers seem to relish.
Sanders made a valiant attempt to cloak his socialism and social issues libertinism in scripture, citing Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 7:12, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,” but then undermined the argument by insisting that all the world’s religions take the same generous view. Islam as practiced by the Islamic State and the Islamic Republic of Iran and all the rest of those head-chopping, stoning, burning-at-the-stake adherents of the Religion of Peace apparently sees no religious obligation to treat the infidels as they would hope to be treated, and we expect the ordinary Liberty University student is at least well educated enough to understand that. Most of the media also understand this, and understand that most of America understands this, which is probably why they’d prefer to report on The Donald’s latest “tweet.” Sanders also quoted the Old Testament book of Amos, chapter five and verse 24, “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a falling stream,” to justify his pro-abortion and pro-same-sex marriage stands, but we expect the average Liberty University could cite other chapters and verses of other books in both the Old and New Testaments that are more specific about such matters. Most of the media couldn’t, we suspect, which is another reason they’d prefer to report on The Donald’s latest “tweet.”
Sanders also cited scripture through the rest of his rant, mostly about the dreaded “1 percent,” “with huge yachts, and jet planes and tens of billions. More money than they would ever know what to do with,” and their obligation to cough it all up to finance a few hours of federal spending. We suppose there’s something somewhere in the scriptures about greed or one of the other relevant Seven Deadly Sins that might bolster Sanders’ theological argument, but even such protestant students as one might find at Liberty University are likely to notice there’s a certain amount of envy and covetousness in Sanders’ pitch, and the economic considerations are too ridiculous to contemplate. The Wall Street Journal has tallied all the spending that Sanders proposes and come up with an $18 trillion price tag, which would be added to the $18 trillion or so already owed, and not including the many tens of trillions of previous unfunded promises, as well as all the the state and municipal and private debt that’s accumulated, and it’s going to take some hellacious scripture-citing to make that work out.
The best we can say for the Democrats is that Sander’s explosion is just the equal and opposite reaction to Clinton’s implosion from various scandals and the increasingly apparent fact that she has no provable accomplishments to show for her many titles and is just an awful, awful woman, which we saw coming from a mile way, no matter what predictable plot lines those hack writers in the media type up, and perhaps there’s some out-of-the-blue plot twist that will lead to a happy ending. They’re pitching the idea of Vice President Joe Biden, at which we point the storyline has reached the absurdism of Samuel Beckett. We’re waiting for a Democrat more worthy than The Donald, which isn’t asking much, but at this point its going to take some deus ex machina that the jaded public won’t buy.
We can only hope that there are still a few twists left in the Republican plot line, as well, and that it ends with one of the many other more heroic characters somehow prevailing over Trump’s “tweets.” Tonight’s episode of the Donald Trump reality show might even set that in motion, and we’ll be watching with avid interest.

— Bud Norman

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