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Election Day is Only 154 Days Away

June 7, 2016

“Fat man lookin’ in a blade of steel
Thin man lookin’ at his last meal
Hollow man lookin’ in a cotton field
For dignity

Wise man lookin’ in a blade of grass
Young man lookin’ in the shadows that pass
Poor man lookin’ through painted glass
For dignity”

– Bob Dylan,
from Dignity

The years go by. Forty-eight years ago this week, I hoped that the headlines on the Chicago papers I lugged around that school day morning were all a bad dream. I had no idea about national politics or the state of nation, but a kid can still wonder why someone would want to shoot a gun at Robert Kennedy? In Illinois, grade school kids learned that a guy named John Wilkes Booth murdered our state’s favorite son, Abraham Lincoln, while the president was watching a play in a theater. We of course also heard about the murders of Martin Luther King and John Kennedy. A kid might start to believe that it just normal that a leading public figure would be violently killed.

The 1968 primary, which Robert Kennedy won just before he was murdered, is probably still California’s most memorable for either of the two major parties. Who can forget such a tragic moment?

In 2008, when the Democrat Party nomination was Hillary Clinton’s to lose, she won the California primary with a wide margin over Barack20160606_201955 (2) Obama. This year, when the Democrat Party nomination has always been Hillary Clinton’s to lose, the California polls tell us that she is in a statistical tie with Bernie Sanders.

The months go by. Thirteen months ago, I started listening to the people who thought they should be our next president as they started lining up in front of the cameras to tell us all about it. Slim pickings, as they say. After gobs of money and endless loops of yakety-yak, all but a handful of states have made their choices for the November general election. As early as the Iowa and New Hampshire results, we were once again reminded that collective ignorance doesn’t lead to wisdom.

The days go by. In only one hundred and fifty-four short days from now, we’ll find out if this country’s voters really do want the candidate endorsed by North Korea for the next President of the United States to take his delusional views and menacing approach to the world stage.

It’s election day in California. I’ll be over to the local poll soon. Come November, you count on me again.

When you’re watching today’s results on your favorite cable news station and wondering why you put yourself through it, try Monty Python’s take on Election Day instead.

 

 

 

 

39 Comments
  1. Worrying times Bruce – both in the US and Europe with the UK referendum just 16 days away. God knows what will happen if Trump wins and if the UK votes to pull out of the EU 😦 Right wing views appear to be on the rise – or is it that they just make the most noise?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Rebecca, As wacky as it has been, I don’t think anyone can really appreciate the things that could happen if the Republican voters have their way this election cycle. The party let this get way out of hand and have done nothing to evidence that they can put the genie back in the bottle.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Scary times. I have to wait to watch your video as I’m at work. But I didn’t know they did an election edition! I’m so excited. Thanks Bruce.

    As to Trump, oh lord. I think that every newspaper should publish a list of all candidates with a yes or no for each candidate on whether they support/will vote for Trump. If they try to fudge it, that’s a yes. I think this would be a great way to clean House. Or send us into that handbasket faster.

    Like

    • Elyse, I don’t know that your simple “yes or no” method would have significant impact at the polls. Few of his supporters, even those who once called him every name in the book and declared him unfit for any real responsibility, don’t seem to have any shame. And the voters seem to be having fun with all of this, thinking he is just what the doctor ordered. We’ll see. Maybe the “down ticket” will suffer in November. I hope so.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope so too.

        The yes or no thing is partly to put folks on record. We should know if our politicians, for example, support the rule of law or support Trump.

        But maybe you’re right. I think that anybody willing to compromise their morals enough to vote for this turkey is unfit for office. (Of course, I am rarely asked …J)

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        • I agree that people in public office should be willing to take a stand on this guy. Especially so for all of those people who would mouth the talking points about Obama whether they agreed or even knew what they were talking about. They’ve been blowhards the past seven years and shouldn’t go quiet now.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Tombers’s Blog and commented:
    a brilliant take on our election by Bruce Thiesen with film from Monty Python…

    Like

    • Hi Mat, – those guys from Python nailed it once more with their “Election Night Special.”

      I watched two of the cable TV companies’ blather last night for a combined twenty minutes. Just awful coverage. A whole lot of time waste. I didn’t hear a single thing that was interesting or insightful. Which is too bad. I am sure that there is a lot of talent and certainly, plenty of money, to give us something more worthwhile.

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      • Well, actually, Monty Python’s election coverage didn’t provide anything useful or insightful either, but my, was it interesting and funny! I might vote for the Silly Party in November.

        Like

  4. Great post, great video. Great to hear from you…

    Like

  5. Ha, ha, love Monty Python!

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  6. Sadly Monty Python’s election film is not far from the truth of what’s happening today! I truly fear for your country Bruce…slim pickings indeed!

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    • Lynn, while SNL skits can still be funny every now and again and John Oliver hits it right down the middle every time out, I can imagine that a time machine to match the Monty Python crew in their prime with today’s subjects would be spot on.

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  7. Well, glad things feel very differently in Canada – it happened quickly, but it’s all good change. Your turn. I don’t follow American Politics, but Bernie Sanders is what the world needs from the USA Hilary will do, and then well either it is a bad joke or a disturbing check on reality. I encourage you to get the younger people out voting – if and when you have a chance – they really have hit the nail on the head in terms of enough with the waste in scandals, enough with crazy bonuses to civil servants, I think anything that fosters community is a great place to look for solutions an government and corporate do not do community well. Where did all that come from? Pardon my vent, really just wanted to say HI – Harlon

    Like

    • Harlon – This didn’t come across as a vent. Thank you for stopping in. It was good to hear from you.

      I agree that Bernie talks about the system that we need. I think that a lot of people that won’t support or participate in the conversation that he wants us to have know this deep inside, but something keeps them from engaging. Sometimes, we think that it’s easier to just to keep things as they are.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have this feeling that the winner in November will be the candidate whose coming explosion is smaller. Clinton’s email scandal is going to do something, it’s just a question of what and how big. And Trump’s mouth will eventually finally catch up to him. It’s a just a question of — is the email scandal going to have a bigger impact than whatever it is that Trump says? It’s a scary calculation to consider, particularly if you don’t think either of them should be President. As I do.

    Like

    • Mark – who can say what will happen the next five months, but I think anyone would agree there’s much more ahead. Leave it to the cable news stations and social media to blur the real with the made-up and dismiss the real for the story.

      Like

  9. I was 16 years old when Robert Kennedy was killed and I had just started to become politically astute. I remember going to bed with my transistor radio on all night listening to the continual loop of information. It is hard to believe it was 48 years ago. I usually enjoy the election process, even in the early stages, but this cycle is different. I continue to find it unfathomable that Trump could actually be our President, but I’m not counting him out. I really despair that our country is divided to the extent that people will use euphemisms to soft pedal his erratic and sociopathic tendencies and will vote for him simply to maintain a Republic allegiance. We are really in trouble. I hope you’ll continue to post your thoughts as we move forward. You express yourself so well. And the Monty Python clip was just perfect! I’d not seen that before. If only a “silly” candidate was our worst fear!

    Like

    • Debra – did you grow up in the west? Or maybe you were back east and a night owl? I was too young for an all-nighter and learned about it when I started packing up my Chicago Tribunes and Chicago Sun Times for my morning route.

      It’s up to the R’s to understand that this presidential election is not about political parties. How are you feeling about the odds that they will come around to the understanding that this time it is about our country?

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      • Yes, Bruce. I grew up in Los Angeles County, and I was spending the night with my grandparents the evening Bobby Kennedy was killed. They had the television on and I remember their emotions almost more than my own. And to answer your followup question…I’m not feeling good about the odds at all. I am almost despairing of that fact!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. kdk permalink

    We have to wait sooo long for the opportunity to vote in California. Most election cycles I fantasize about moving to Ohio where I’m convinced that my early vote will really count for something. The silver lining of this year’s chaos is that it allowed me to live longer with the illusion that my California vote might matter.

    Monty Python captures it well. One of my favorite snippets of “real” coverage this season was a cable news guest who I heard describe Trump’s unedited diatribe as, “the scattershot of word salad that comes out of his mouth.” Good (though small) payoff for too many hours of watching the coverage.

    Like

    • kdk, Our votes are still worth something, even if it feels illusory at times. It even seemed like they mattered to someone other than our individual “citizen selves” last week. That’s certainly what the two presidential campaigns behaved.

      Hang on to those silver linings.

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  11. Not sure how much of this is made up, Bruce, but for sure, Steven Hawking defined Trump as a demagogue who appeals to the lowest common denominator. Here are the parts I am not sure of: There were lots of Google searches for what these words actually meant and Trump followers criticized Hawking for not speaking English. When a reporter asked Hawking about the issue, Hawking replied: “Trump bad man. Trump very bad man.” How anybody can support Trump is totally beyond me, but I fear for our nation if he is elected. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Maja permalink

    Poland is already taken by our right wing and being destroyed more and more every day. The nationalists are growing stronger and are getting away with pretty much everytihng they do. The goverment doesn’t respect the Constitution, brakes the law every single day. Not to mention, that for writing this I will be called “the worst kind of Pole” and a traitor by my own President (and his boss). Well done Poland. It’s sad to say, but it’s kind of a relief that we don’t have a lot of impact on the rest of the world. The USA on the other hand… Scary, scary times.

    Like

    • This sounds too familiar. Anytime we citizens want to challenge an action of the USA in the rest of the world, we are attacked by conservatives as being unpatriotic. It is very scary when things get out of hand, as you describe. And Poland does have an impact. This trend is unsettling.

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  13. You explain it superbly in one short phrase: “collective ignorance doesn’t lead to wisdom.” I fear for our country and yet…and yet… look at the positive changes that have somehow occurred with more people opening up to allowing others to BE, just be, who they are. Two steps forward, one step back? That’s what we need to hope…that we (our country, the world) will step forward more often than step back. But don’t get me started on those who say they won’t vote at all because they dislike both choices for election day. Not voting is a crime, in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for the video link. The silly candidate indeed. Better yet, the scary candidate.
    No matter ones thoughts about Hilary, I cannot imagine the scary candidate as our President.
    The ugly underbelly of the US has surely been revealed.

    Like

  15. Just woke up to the news that the UK has pulled out of the EU. Even though your post is from a few weeks ago, your thoughts are relevant. What to do, what to do? Well. When in doubt, vote, that’s what. Now there’s, I think, 138 days to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am frightened. Surprizing close votes lately, that have gone the way I wasn’t expecting. Brexit, and Colombia, oh my goodness. So… I am expecting the buffoon to win in November.

    Like

  17. Expecting the election to go to Trump is a heavy weight to carry.

    Like

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