Weird things I've noticed about the election
By Patricia Nell Warren
With a month to go, major media are giving less space to the Presidential election. Despite early fanfares from both candidates about the "moral future of America," public interest is fading too. Bob and Jack and Bill and Al are having to share major air time with Ellen, Boris and O.J. -- to say nothing of bombings, the Olympics, Mideast war, and a 7-year-old suspended from school for kissing another tot on the cheek.
How seriously can one take a campaign where the Secret Service lets Bob take an unseemly tumble off the platform in view of the cameras?
Why does the White House contest have vanishing credibility in these desperate times? Were there conspiracies to downplay in the no-smoking conference rooms of media moguls? Or are many Americans finally reaching the nadir of disgust with politicians? Is there a feeling out there that positive change will not come from the Oval Office, no matter who sits there?
- While Bob and Bill censored Ross out of the debates, controversies about censorship are becoming a daily reality in many schools, libraries, communities.
- No sooner has Bob sermonized about drugs, than we learn our federal government is the biggest crack dealer of them all.
- Bill will let NASA spend billions on a Mars shot -- which will probably wipe out any budget cuts he got by "ending welfare".
- Even as Bob and Bill are agreeing to quash same-sex marriage, convicted serial killer Richard (Ramirez) and murderer Eric (Menendez) get to celebrate high-profile heterosexual marriages behind bars.
- Bill might as well give up on gun control -- some genius in L.A. has figured out a way to shatter windshields and terrorize people on the freeways without even using bullets.
- Neither Bill nor Bob have much to say about affirmative action, though the country is coming to a boil about it.
- Here in California, Pete just signed a bill outlawing the import of goods made by slave labor abroad. Meanwhile, our wonderful U.S. penal system is fast being subcontracted to private enterprise...which has a vested interest in large prison populations working for a few cents an hour.
- Morality aside, Americans won't worry long about low-fat diet if both parties go on saying nothing about falling food production. A recent statistic from the WorldWatch Institute reveals that, since 1985, grain yields are falling behind population growth. Erosion, vanishing aquifers, development have degraded 25 percent of U.S. farmland. Those well-stocked grocery shelves in New York City and Peoria are a mirage -- heavy on imports. Are Bob or Bill worried about the future of eating? I wonder.
Come to think of it, maybe that's why the media have shifted focus. Even last night's high-profile debate was just the same-old, same-old from both Bob and Bill. Urgent problems are out there, grabbing headlines away from political charades that breed more and more rage, contempt and apathy in our citizens. The handwriting is on the wall, big as the HOLLYWOOD sign. But are Bob and Bill -- and their handlers -- ready to read it?
Patricia Nell Warren is author of "The Front Runner" and other best-selling books, as well as a widely published commentator. Her publisher is Wildcat Press. Copyright (c) 1996 by Patricia Nell Warren. All Rights Reserved.
©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.