This week, we were treated to the spectacle of a debate supposedly designed to help pick the next leader of our country, which involved discussing the size of the leading candidate's penis, and an endless round of cheap, childish insults, but did not include a second of meaningful discussion on a single issue of substance.
And going almost unnoticed in all of this, was the blatantly partisan nature of the whole thing. If any of you are old enough to remember the many, many years when Presidential debates were run by the League of Women Voters, you know that the audience was instructed at the beginning of the debate to show no reaction to what the candidates had to say. In this "debate," we had an audience, hand picked by Fox News, cheering wildly at every attack on Trump, in a manner as spontaneous as a sitcom laugh track. Furthermore, we were treated to a number of slides, prepared in advance by Fox, highlighting lies that Trump told; not once was such a thing shown for any other candidate, despite the obvious fact of their being just as big a pack of liars as Trump is.
This is not an exercise in democracy; it is right wing propaganda paid for by sociopaths. This fact is far more important than a single thing that was said at this event. Yet, virtually no one in the absurdly titled "liberal media" is willing to say this openly. Instead, relatively serious discussions between the candidates on the left are eclipsed in the mainstream press by this sort of meaningless and disgusting spectacle.
And let us all remember that this phenomenon did not arise on its own. It is the result of decades of massively funded Republican efforts to convince the American public of the following, among other things:
Facts mean nothing, and as a corollary, scientists are nothing but corrupt, self-serving liars who are engaged in trying to feather their own pockets by getting government money. No, it is anger and hatred that will actually lead Americans to the right solution to their problems.
Greed and self interest are good, and are proven to be the right values by the large number of people who have become obscenely rich by concentrating on nothing else. And if enough Americans just agree to give Republicans what they want, they will all soon be rich too.
We are in imminent danger of all being slaughtered in our beds by religious fanatics if we do not elect Republicans, who can be trusted to defend the country (as George W. Bush did in Iraq) if we only give their backers more tax money to spend on armaments, taking the money from all domestic spending, from road building to clean air and water, to Medicaid and Social Security, which are, of course, just corrupt expenditures that Democrats use to buy votes of ignorant and stupid minorities.
And the big lie: Make the rich richer, and they will altruistically share their wealth with everyone else; a grotesque specimen of right wing economic cant otherwise known as "supply-side" economics; and one which has been proven disastrously wrong every single time it has been tried anywhere in the world, but which is still pushed by Republicans, because they get paid to do it.
I could go on here, but you get the idea. Trump, and the sorry spectacle of this debate, did not arise in a vacuum; they were carefully created by a political party that wanted a base which was impervious to any notion of truth or even common decency, and which could be manipulated through their Pavlovian training to respond to violence and hatred. Well, they now have the party they wanted; the only question is whether we are going to give them the rest of the country too. And in the meantime, just keep concentrating on the size of Donald Trump's penis, wherein you will find the answers to all of our nation's problems.