Perspective

Political Poltergeists

“They’re back,” cries the little girl in the movie, when the demons from Hell reappear on her television screen.  The phrase, a cliché in the cliché-driven headlines of the Washington Post and Time, comes to mind at the beginning of every election cycle, as gibberish-driveling demons like Hillary and Joe, Sarah and Newt get interviewed by the alien life forms that haunt the network-news programs.  The airhead ditzes and poof-haired grifters are sometimes flanked by the evil “geniuses”—if such a term can be applied to cretins—who organize their campaigns and write the words that come out of their mouths.

As the midterm elections approach, I feel a bit like a migraine sufferer.  Nonsense phrases start buzzing in the back of my head, and celebrity politicos begin to display a sinister aura.  At least if it were a migraine coming on, I should know to take my medicine, but with the onset of the political campaigns, all I can do is avoid all forms of political media, not just television but newspapers and political websites.

Patriotic friends, usually quoting Churchill’s defense of democracy, tell me that the vulgar stupidity of political campaigning is the price we have to pay for democracy.  Considering the quality of leadership that we are buying, the price seems much too high.  Mark Twain claimed that we have the...

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