December 21, 2016

Missing that Election Buzz

I miss the great drama that was the '16 election. It was like a long-running soap opera, beginning in March of 2015 when Ted Cruz announced he was running and I began watching the political show With All Due Respect daily.  I recall Trump's famous announcement while on the Trump Tower escalator and thinking it a publicity stunt for The Apprentice. Or like how some has-been celebrity joins the Dancing With the Stars cast and lasts all of a week or two for lack of discipline.

Surely a poor use of time, to be consumed by an election for upwards of a year and a half.  Now With All Due Respect is off the air and Morning Joe is less interesting and the WaPo has suffered as well. I miss the intense engagement, waking up every morning to see what fresh Trumpian gaffe turned up, or what legal troubles and indictments Hillary might face due to her numerous transgressions.

No wonder there were so many celebrity deaths just after the election - people wanted to hang on to dear life just to see the results. It's uncanny how many died just after Nov 8th: Glen Ifill, Robert Vaughn, Leonard Cohen, Florence Henderson, John Glenn, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor...

Over the same period in 2015, only semi-famous Robert Loggia died.  People die more frequently during winter, likely from lack of motivation, similarly post-election.

The election was fascinating because the two major parties contributed patently ridiculous candidates - a would-be jailbird and a "reality" show star. That alone was a first in my lifetime (in most elections, there are two credible candidates, such as Bush v Gore or Bush v. Kerry).

Second it was fascinating to see how this con man, this carny barker, could get the august GOP nomination and then win the general. He was a blowhard, didn't everybody see this? I recall being shocked very, very early in the election season when at a family gathering my brother-in-law said he supported Trump. First off because my bro-in-law is a financially struggling blue collar guy who has worked extremely hard and here he was supporting a plutocrat-rich man who inherited most of his wealth. It seemed an audacious fit. Then too I was surprised simply because he supported mostly Democrats in the past and was no friend to the GOP. I realized then that Trump had something of a cult following. It felt like there was something in the air, in the culture, that I was completely oblivious to.

I used to feel like I was plugged into politics if not pop culture, but now I can claim neither. The race was also fascinating in part for the solipsistic reason that it told me something about me, namely how out of touch I am.

Elsewhere, I was surprised to learn how the earth was once pounded so hard that 70% of all vertebrates died:
The K-T [dinosaur] extinction was not the first such massive die-off in history, nor was it the largest. The Permian-Triassic extinction event, known as the Great Dying, occurred 251.4 million years ago and eradicated 96 percent of all marine species and 70 percent of all terrestrial vertebrates species on earth.

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