Only one day left of this ridiculous campaign. Much as I love to have NPR on as I potter around the house, today I think I will maintain radio silence.
Of all the ways to sum up the 2016 presidential campaign, perhaps the best is hearing that Iran broadcast the third and final debate between Clinton and Trump on their national TV, with translation to Farsi. All the insults, all the character assassination. You know how those westerners are always touting their democracy? Well, here it is.
As the candidates barely mentioned real issues such as rebuilding our infrastructure, climate change (which has been a problem so long it has outlasted its initial name: global warming), reducing the national debt, addressing our health care and educational inequities, building renewable energy sources, or even fixing our democratic institutions.
All sacrificed to the whims of a demagogue, which leads to my post-election concern. This demagogue was a clown, and the astonishing thing is that this clown is going to win many American states. Not enough to become president, but just the thought that a candidate this shallow is going to take the electoral college votes of entire states is enough to make any rational person wonder how our democracy sank so low. I may have disagreed with Gerald Ford, the Bushes, etc., but they were at least rational opponents capable of complex policy issues.
After this demagogue loses (and skulks shrilly off to Manhattan, to discover the wealthy there, the top one percent of the one percent, want nothing to do with him any more), who will the next demagogue be?
Because no one is telling this angry constituency that their jobs are gone because the rest of the world, post-WW2, has rebuilt and the jobs have left our shores. Another demagogue will come along and tell them what they want to hear. Scapegoats will be found again, and I fear the next demagogue will be far more polished than this political stuffed shirt.
If I’m tempted to fill today’s silence, perhaps I’ll check in on the music stations. But many of the bay area radio stations I used to enjoy have changed formats. I do still have a turntable set up in the living room, and now rarely ever access the old LPs. Maybe it’s time to spin some vinyl again, as I used to do. Or play a few CDs.
After voting tomorrow morning, perhaps NPR will give more airplay to other, more substantial stories as we await the early results. Late in the day I hope to talk to my friend Chris in Philadelphia. It’s an old tradition of ours, to check in on election nights and compare notes.
While the plutocrats and kleptocrats of other nations look at us, and chortle to themselves.