Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Freak Show

There is that point in life that all of us reach when we figure we have seen all that the world has to offer, and we stop being surprised by what goes on around us. I thought I had reached that particular mark when Palestinian television produced a show featuring a Mickey Mouse look-alike who spouted the value of brushing your teeth, eating your vegetables, and jihad against the Zionist infidels. A parenting tip that seems to have slipped by the Palestinian people is that when a particular children’s program features the words “and the blood of the martyrs will run through the streets” its time to change the channel to Mr. Rogers reruns. It is unlikely that children will be inspired to commit crimes against humanity by the sweater clad icon of children’s television.

On par with the hate mongering mouse and his message of Jewish extinction was the fact that America was just treated to a CNN Presidential “debate” where YouTube users got to ask the liberal candidates questions in the form of video snippets. The highpoint came when a talking snowman asked the Presidential hopefuls about their views on global warming. The only thing that could have been more ridiculous would have been if Michael Vick had been filmed asking Hillary what she would do about rampant animal cruelty.

Let’s put this in perspective. The people on the stage are all seeking the most powerful office in the entire world, and they are taking questions from people pretending to be snowmen? I can understand why Hillary would not be willing to give the office the President the respect it deserves; her husband used the Oval Office like it was an e-harmony satellite location. This doesn’t excuse the others.

I can’t see Ronald Reagan participating in this sort of “debate”, and I believe FDR would use his wheelchair to run over the toes of anybody who suggested that he lower himself to taking questions from snowmen and people dressed like characters from the Beverly Hillbillies.

This is the Presidency of the United States we are trying to sort out, not the next American Idol. The only “Presidential” action any of them had open to them last night was to walk off the stage the first time some chucklehead in a Halloween costume began to ask questions about national policy. Instead they treated the freak show like summit meeting.

How would the people who stood on that stage last night stack up against Abraham Lincoln? How does taking a question about global warming from a snowman stack up against Teddy Roosevelt, who even as an ex-President, showed truly Presidential fortitude and delivered a speech minutes after being shot.

People watching President Roosevelt in 1912 giving a speech while bleeding from a bullet wound to the chest had to be struck by the fact that this man, this President, simply willed himself to the podium and refused to give in to an assassin’s bullet. This is a far cry from more contemporary Presidents who can’t figure out what the word “is” means, or Presidential hopefuls who are taking questions from YouTube users who probably have more in common with the Jim Rose Freak Show than the average American.

There seems to be an almost conscious effort to bring the Presidency down to the level of those who think passing gas after hearing a really good limerick about a rather promiscuous girl from Nantucket is the cultural and spiritual highlight of their lives. How can we expect the world to take our President seriously if we won’t?
According to the campaign schedule the next “Big Debate” for the Democrats is one on the Logo Network. This means those of us who comprise the backbone of this nation can safely lower our expectations for Presidential behavior even further. Considering the fact that this particular network airs the sort of programming that gets a thumbs up (I hope it’s a thumb) from Madonna impersonators, NAMBLA members, and that guy who won the first “Survivor” we can pretty much toss out the possibility of any question that have any sort of cultural relevance for most Americans.

As we go from watching Presidential candidates take questions from snowmen to answering queries that are important to men who enjoy dressing up as Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ we have to ask whether the people subjecting themselves to these “debates” are upholding the dignity of the Presidency or are they simply pandering to the lowest common denominator in the hopes that a tidal wave of freaks might sweep them into the Oval Office.

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