And In This Corner. . .

Over the course of the next two weeks, we will be treated to the Republican and Democratic national conventions.  Political bloviation and professional hypocrisy will reach excruciating heights, and then we’ll elect a president nine weeks later.  Or maybe I should say the Electoral College will select one in December.

Whoever chooses the guy, all signs point toward a historic level of lunacy, and the campaign has not even formally begun.  After the conventions is when the candidates officially square off and Americans will face the bleakness of their choices.  Boxing metaphors are apt, because boxing has become a completely corrupt enterprise, more similar to professional wrestling and American politics.  As Burt Sugar might have said, this bout is between a pair of palookas.

In one corner stands Mitt Romney, a capitalist luminary and devout Mormon, who believes he’ll become a God someday in the afterlife, with his own planet.  The Republican flag bearer became governor of a Democratic state by being for abortion rights before he was against them.  He also installed government mandated health care and signed gun control laws, all of which he disavows now that he wants Tea Party votes.  In other words, the future divinity doesn’t stand for anything except getting elected.

There is no doubt how he feels about money, being worth somewhere around $200 million.  We don’t know Mr. Romney’s net worth for sure because he doesn’t want us to know, afraid he’ll look like a Wall Street type who make piles of money while paying low taxes and producing nothing, which, come to think of it, is exactly what he is.  He’d much prefer, for electoral purposes, to be seen as one of those normal, hard-working Americans who make $21 million in annual income.

The trouble is that Romney makes more in a day than the average American makes in a year, unless you, too, earn $32,000 every twenty-four hours, or more than $400,000 dollars a week.  His wealth ranks in the top .1% of all Americans, but he gets to pay a 14% income tax rate, just like the other normal Joes who make $32,000 a year, because of laws written for guys just like him.  Perhaps someday you’ll be able to stash tax-free money in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, and ogle $101 million in your tax free retirement fund, after passing on millions to your children without estate taxes.

Maybe most importantly, he wears pressed jeans and special religious undies.  Is this someone you want as leader of the free world and in charge of tax policy?

In the other corner, we have President Obama, believed by a growing number of Americans to be a Muslim, a Manchurian Candidate for Muhammad, sporting a fake birth certificate, after his mother had sex with an Ethiopian demon.  The man branded the Great Communicator can’t even convince people he’s an American.  The passage of health care legislation took about as long as an elephant’s pregnancy, and he still couldn’t manage to convey what was in it.  He can’t even connect with Blacks, many of whom are starting to suspect he’s White.

He promised to close Guantanamo and didn’t.  He increased the fruitless wars on drugs and Afghanistan.  He increased the surveillance of Americans.  He increased the use of drones.  He continues to spend more on the military than every other country in the world combined.  He avoids immigration reform.  It’s as if President Bush came back as a brother.

I guess this is the best we can do.  They’re probably better than Newt Gingrich, who suggested making poor kids at school work as janitors, or Governor Perry, who likes to joke about secession, or Congressman Akin, who thinks women have magical anti-pregnancy switches, or Representative Weiner, who liked tweeting nudie pics of himself, or Congressman Rangel, who simply forgot to pay taxes.  But, let’s face it, neither contender seems headed for Rushmore.

To take our eyes off of them, because of what we’ll see, both sides will attack each other for the next three months, while doing their absolute best to offer nothing of substance.  It will be like a prize fight where the competitors dance around and call each other names, egged on by billionaires who can now spend all they want on bullhorns.  Outright lies and posturing will be the norm.  You can believe nothing.

In the meantime, the war in Afghanistan has gone on for more than a decade.  The national debt increases by $4 billion a day.  The top 1% of Americans, like Romney, benefited enormously from the recession, while the wealth of everyone else shrank.  Health care will soon cost 20% of our GDP, bankrupting Medicare within twelve years.  One U.S. serviceman kills himself daily.  And the Arctic ice sheet has shrunk to the lowest level ever recorded.

Only 58% of Americans voted in the last presidential election, and the Republicans are doing their best to diminish that even more.  So, tempting as it sounds, abdication is not a good choice.  Considering what’s at stake, and the quality of the choices, voting will actually be more important than ever.  I think of it as picking the least harmful option, and hoping for the best.  Since I can’t believe anything either of them say, I’ve decided to go with what I see.  I’ve never trusted anyone who likes pressed jeans.

About Bucky Dann

I teach religion, sociology, and psychology at Southwestern Community College in the Smoky Mountains. I have worked in the United Methodist ministry and in the substance abuse field. I possess a Masters of Divinity, a Masters of Philosophy, and a PhD in the sociology of knowledge.

2 Responses to “And In This Corner. . .”

  1. I agree with everything you say. sad situation…

  2. Just wondering — Are there some things about our country, its government, and its people you admire?

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