BY VERN TURNER
Finally! The Republicans have picked themselves a candidate to run against Hillary Clinton. Man, I’m glad that’s over. It was a brutal slog through 17 candidates, most of whom had no clue as to why they were running for president or acted like they were only kidding if they did.
Our senses were over-exposed to small hands, really bad hair, deranged dialogue fit for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and lying. Oh, my goodness. The lies. Has it ever been this … well, bad?
We, the audience, were “treated” to lies about non-existent videos, lies about the other candidates in the field, lies about spouses, lies about the opposing party candidates and lies about themselves. I guess the drill here was to become so inured to lies that they started sounding like truths.
Now, we’ve already been through that with Trump’s birther nonsense that the most backward among us are still, er, trumpeting it. Ah, Trump. The Donald. The orange guy with the obviously over-the-top hairdo. If you want to hear the sound of a needle being pushed across a vinyl record in your mind, look at the pictures of the past presidents and then look at any picture of the Donald. Yikes!
At least the Ted Cruz snake-oil show is over and the short-lived, pratfall career of Carly Fiorina has taken its leave from our senses as well as its own. Oh, and how can we forget that almost all of the sorrowful 17 received a message from God telling him/her they should run for president.
The deity’s sense of humor here must really be confounding to those candidates who claim to be true believers.
So, how does this opening relate to being happy?
Well, it means that the game has changed, politically, and the really dumb-dumb show is over. Now, we can all sit back and enjoy baseball, good movies and the occasional blurb about the presidential campaigns.
Yes, Bernie is still hanging in there trying to push Clinton even further to the left. Good for him. I like his shtick, because it really isn’t shtick. Hillary is now pivoting to the general election where she seems to be swamping The Donald in every demographic, including some Republican groups who don’t know what the hell to do with their vote.
Then there’s Donald J. Trump, his own self, who just keeps trumping himself with one more inflammatory, flaming tissue of nothingness every day. What is it today? Oh, yeah. He’s going to keep attacking Hillary’s marriage to Bill. Talk about a fall to your knees, belly-wrenching gut laugh …
I read an article that says laughing is good therapy and makes you healthier. Take heart, my lovelies. Start laughing at everything, because the circus has not left town. It’s just gotten smaller.
Maybe the clown makeup is being reserved for the clown of narcissism while the gaggle of ink-stained wretches who are forced to make a living off of the disembowelment of the American political process suffer journalistic apoplexy.
I have rediscovered the game that saved America, aka the United States of America: Baseball.
Yes, baseball. The game where the defense has the ball. The game with no clock, shot buzzer, yellow penalty flags, penalty box, or, in most cases, no cheerleaders. The poor cheerleaders … they always have their backs to the game and don’t really know what they’re supposed to be riling up the fans for. The recent introduction of high-level athletics and gymnastics into cheerleading routines gives the same kind of fascination to their particular audience as a stock car race; you wait for the fall/crash with baited breath. As it happens, there are more athletic injuries among cheerleaders than there are amongst the actual athletes.
Anyway, baseball is the timeless, endless game with extra innings [and outings] if the teams are tied after nine innings. The game is perfectly elegant in every way. Even modest rule changes are resisted and tend not to change the essence of the game or the outcomes of individual games. Imagine that happening in our governments. Even a moderately interested or informed audience member [fan] can appreciate the slow periods followed by heart-pounding emergency athleticism kicked off by the crack of bat on ball. These virtues allow the really interested fan to enjoy the game even if the favored team loses. Hey, there’s another game tomorrow. Who’s pitching?
Being happy and having fun with your favorite people is what a good life is all about. I have a great wife with whom I share all things baseball and most other sports. But baseball is our thing. We are baseball geeks. Discussing the finer points of strategy in the presence of others brings looks of astonishment from those who are married to the mundane instead of the dynamics of knowing the subtle strategies of the great game and the players abilities.
My wife also introduced me to being involved with the political discourse. So, if you don’t like what I write about it, blame her. Just kidding. If it weren’t for her restraint, I’d probably be lying in some sort of repose in the Eugene Debs Memorial Park. After almost eight years of pounding the keys in the hopes of seeing the American people actually snap into awareness that there are those for whom they vote that don’t have their best interests at heart.
Why, there are still backward-thinking Republicans running for office at every level who want to destroy the health care system that provided care for almost 20 million Americans and greatly reduced the number of illness-related foreclosures and bankruptcies.
Oddly, these kinds of happiness-draining candidates are found mostly in the poorest and most backward parts of our country. National data shows that 75% of the poorest people in the country live in states controlled by Republicans. Sorry. I’m not smiling. I’d better change the subject.
We have an election coming up in November where we all have a chance to turn the worm of social decay into the soaring bird of prosperity: better health, higher, better quality education at all levels and a return to real wages paid equally to everyone who works at a good job provided by emerging technologies and by our infrastructure repairs. Man, the prospect of that scenario makes my heart soar with anticipation.
But my vote alone won’t do the trick of overturning incompetent, xenophobic, hypocritical, bigoted and partisan government and placing real people into office who are not beholden to big money, and can smile and mean it, guilt free.
This will be one of my lifetime’s most important elections. I look forward to seeing my fellow countrymen ignore the draconian Voter ID laws and do whatever it takes to vote in those who really want to govern and vote out the dancers and prancers who have worked so hard – in between bribes – to make us a very unhappy people.
Put yourself in the game. Get registered and vote. Batter up!!
– Vern Turner lives in Marble Falls, TX and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism, is available through Amazon.com.