LIONEL PODCAST: The Most Despicable Election in American History

“News is what a chap who doesn’t care much about anything wants to read. And it’s only news until he’s read it. After that it’s dead.” Evelyn Waugh

America. The republic, usually misunderstood as a democracy. Where anyone with a pair of neurons and a functioning synapse can vote. Or not. We love the simple issue. Basic. Tissue thin and unidimensional. Trite and uncomplicated. The meme, the phrase. The ribbon, the hashtag the filter. The rote, the memorized, the patellar and Pavlovian. The rehearsed but never researched. Revisionist history and popular culture. Overarching themes. A country that confuses religious faith and piety with mythology and superstition. Uneducated, uncultured and uncouth. America loves to hate, its public and loud alleged aversion to hate notwithstanding. We love to hate the candidates, the networks, the talk radio loudmouths, the other side. We hate them, the opposition. We hate the Bible thumper and leftie loon. We hate the gun owner and gun advocate and gun fanatic. N.B. The fanatic. Translation: someone who expresses a belief or penchant for an idea or practice that we don’t understand or agree with. The other guy. Terrorist = the other guy. Impuissant and gutless leftie and liberal = the other guy. Right wing lunatic = the other guy.

Hillary and Trump are both candidates and code words and attack commands, signaling the recitation of the usual statements from the usual suspects. We delude ourselves into thinking that our debates are rational and comprehensive and fact-based and well-thought. It’s not so much that we have a position, it’s that we loathe and detest the proponents of the other side, the other position. America loves to coopt issues that redefine vagueness and make it an art form. One faction has taken as its own the fight against gun violence, as though anyone could possibly be in favor of it. Another faction wraps itself in the Constitutional without so much as a correspondence course in basic historical precepts and rudiments. Doesn’t mater, I seized the image first, it’s mine. Out of a republic with 319 million people we have as presumptive candidates two of the most vile, despicable and unworthy kakistocrats that central casting could have ever created if not hatched. We get what we deserve. And though our republic will endure and survive – after all, we came through the Franklin Pierce years relatively unscathed – prospering and advancing are another issue altogether. These are dark days for Americans but an absolute gold mine for those of us who make our living through political commentary and analysis.

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