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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 2 years ago

Chris Jepson: The emperor has no clothes

Depending on the day, I might experience a number of different emotions regarding this election.
by: Chris Jepson Staff Writer

I wrote this column one year ago. It resonates today.

My wife said she’s glad her mother and aunt are not alive today to witness the Republican presidential primary. She conjectured they’d, “Burn up the lines” talking about the craziness of the GOP. I’m not so sure. Not about their talking to one another about the state of the Republican Party but rather what constitutes “crazy” these days.

How far down the rabbit hole must our politics descend before we take a collective breath and say, “Enough with such foolishness, we’ve adult problems to attend to.” I fear our descent is only beginning.

I trust you watched Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump for president. If you caught Tina Fey’s “Saturday Night Live” impression of Palin’s Trump endorsement, you’d be hard put to determine which is which. Who was the actual politician and who was the comedian? It would be hilarious except Palin is representative of a sizable chunk of the American electorate.

Is it “elitist” to be concerned about the infantile level of national discourse and the lack of substantive Republican proposals addressing America’s challenges? In Republican La-La Land, it is.

Memo to Sarah Palin: Please go home and see to your family. Your son smacks women around and your daughter neither understands birth control nor considers marriage a requisite for procreation. No one would particularly notice (or care) except that for so long you’ve claimed the moral high ground of religious probity. Your incredible hypocrisy is startling in contrast to your family’s actual “moral” performance. Some might suggest, “Practice what you preach.”

Depending on the day, I might experience a number of different emotions regarding this election. I can move from amused to incredulous to angry in a matter of seconds, but I often end up profoundly sad. And, yes, worried. How is it possible so many of my fellow Americans embrace the Republican Kool-Aid offered by its slate of presidential pretenders? It is at this point I recall H.L. Mencken’s notion that, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

Do Americans really deserve it “good and hard?” Do we deserve it for initiating and supporting the two senseless wars in Iraq and Libya? Do we deserve it because we’ve allowed money’s lapdogs (see: politicians) to do the perfidious legislative bidding of Wall Street and corporate special interests (see: tax codes and regulatory oversight)? Do we deserve it because we vilify America’s impoverished as lazy, undeserving ingrates who are eroding our vaunted work ethic? Do we deserve it for allowing America’s air, water and land to be desecrated in the name of profit? Do we deserve it because we do not acknowledge — as a nation — our racist past or embrace America’s diversity for the incredibly enriching gift it is?

But on the other side of the equation, Republicans argue the opposite of my concerns. We deserve it good and hard for not being more militarily aggressive abroad, for not doing even more for America’s “job creators,” for not shaming our “unproductive” citizens, for not being appropriately religious or morally judgmental and for actually caring more about a healthy, sustainable environment than for the latest quarterly report of corporate profits.

I fear “good and hard” is in our nation’s future.

George Orwell, author of “1984,” imagined our world today, “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”

Is that America’s future?

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