I try to steer clear of politics here, but I can’t remain quiet after months of what has been the most degrading and disgusting early campaign season I can remember.
I’ll start by saying I am a Democrat, although I try to base my voting decisions on issues rather than party.
But what’s been happening on the Republican campaign trail has been a travesty… and I think the media has played a major role in what has been a circus sideshow that has to be making us look like fools in the eyes of the world.
I usually am a staunch defender of the media. A free and unfettered media is one of the things that allows a democracy like ours to flourish, by helping keep the public informed. But they’ve been doing a disservice in their coverage of the GOP presidential race.
Part of the problem lies with one of the candidates, who I’ve already gone on record as not liking because I consider him a pompous ass, a petulant bully who calls people names if they disagree with him and who has proven himself to be a blatant racist and misogynist. (By now, you have to know who I’m talking about. I just can’t bring myself to put his name on my 2 cents.)
Beyond his name-calling, public use of foul language not befitting a candidate and his constant reference to his TV ratings, he has said very little about how he would “make America great again.” He’s talked about walling off our southern border and having Mexico pay for it. He talks about carpet-bombing ISIS and preventing Muslims from entering this land of the free.
On just about everything else, when asked what he would do and how, he simply says “trust me.”
Why should we trust this blowhard who started out with a silver spoon and has many times used bankruptcy laws and other loopholes (legal, but not ethical) to default on loans and hurt thousands of businesses and individuals along the way.
And here’s where I fault the media. Their coverage of his antics rather than putting the focus on real news has helped elevate him and give him the credibility that comes with coverage.
I’m not saying he should be ignored. He’s been a front-runner, so media have to cover him. But if he’s not saying anything of substance, then he shouldn’t get ink or airtime. Yes, say he had three rallies in Iowa or New Hampshire. But don’t take another 30 or 60 seconds of a 30-minute newscast to run a clip of him mugging or calling Jeb Bush a loser or Carly Fiorina ugly. That is not news. His answer to unemployment -- "I'll be the best jobs president that God ever created." That's news? Strange, boastful and perhaps a bit sacriligious, but news?
If he says something about policy, then it’s news. And that’s what we need to hear or read so we can be an educated and informed electorate.
I’m amazed and distressed by how much one person with a big mouth can derail the campaign process. Other candidates should have ignored his bluster and outrageous taunts. And the media should have been taking him to task, asking him tough questions and not letting him off the hook with his non-responsive and insulting answers.
Yes, I understand there are many people who have become frustrated and disenfranchised with gridlock in D.C. – much of it created by leaders of the party that’s calling for change, ironically. But some of it is rooted in racism against our first black President. And some is based on fear of foreigners, be it terrorism or jobs that’s the real issue. But the way to fix it is not with name-calling and vapid trust-me promises.
Maybe the media and the thinking public will belatedly step up as the campaign cycle moves around the U.S. I hope so.