For many years I was a self-described political junkie and policy wonk. I would spend hours each week devouring stories carried by the major print media publications. Evenings were spent glued to the boob tube to watch the local national news broadcasts. Wherever I lived, I always was on a first name basis with the local librarians who went out of their way to service me in my never-ending quest for recently published tomes and other information.
Back in the 1980s, when the World Wide Web became the new kid on the Internet block, I quickly embraced and utilized this new Internet protocol thinking it was a gift from the gods of technology. I prided myself on the fact that when local, state and national elections rolled around, I was more than superficially aware of all the players and their documented positions on the myriad of issues that concerned not only me and my family, but my community as well. I would also encourage all my family, friends and neighbors to get involved in the process as well so that they could make their own individual, yet well-informed decision as to who should represent them. As always, each election cycle brought with it its own brand of political craziness, which drove the majority of us nuts, but I always advised those who know me that the insanity would pass after the election was settled and the politicians would quickly get down to the pressing business at hand.
Sadly, the routine, but always temporary pre-election political craziness has today evolved into a continual demonstrated lunacy on the part of all the players (politicians, media, pundits, celebrities, activist groups and university professors and students) accompanied by a clearly demonstrated impairment in their thought process, can actually be described today as political dementia. The current atmosphere of our nation's political culture has become so poisoned that we are actually in the process of becoming inured to calls for political assassination...celebrities who think it is funny to be portrayed carrying around the bloodied decapitated head of an elected official and offer us the opportunity for oral sex if we vote for their guy or girl......depiction of our police officers as "enemies of the people" deserving of assassination...the Mayor of a major city who sees nothing wrong in visiting a foreign country for the purpose of denigrating our country...a writer for the Atlantic magazine claiming that the recent total solar eclipse was racist as its path only traversed predominantly white areas of the country...University students who feel they have been emotionally slighted by the simple fact of waking up and getting out of bed each day...ESPN removing an Asian-American sports announcer Robert Lee from a University of Virginia vs. William & Mary football game because they were afraid he might offend and "trigger" some idiots because his name is too similar to the long dead Confederate General Robert E. Lee... and the list continues ad infinitum.
Now, I’m a happy and optimistic person by nature, inclined to tend to my own business and not be influenced unduly by the words or actions of others — especially those whose views are extreme and/or downright irrational. But every now and then I get fed up, and at the moment — perhaps it is the heat, which I find I like less and less as I get older — I am fed up with the cynical anti-intellectualism that has perverted the political discourse of our nation and made it well-nigh impossible to enact public policy solutions to the plethora of real economic and social issues with which we currently are confronted. I’m fed up with kicking the can of reality down the road in the service of political agendas fueled by fantasy, myth and outright untruth. I’m fed up with the elevation of willful ignorance to a virtue. I think I reached the end of my shrinking tether to patience when I had to suffer through weeks, if not months, of others telling me that it was necessary for them to dictate to me who among us could use what restroom because, after all, I was gender biased. Truth be told, I actually know a little something about gender fluidity having lived for a long time as a male trapped inside a female's body...at least until I was born!
When I find my blood pressure going through the roof, thinking that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, rather than surrender to anger, I tend to sit back and work the problem to discover a solution and guess what? I found one! When you have a couple of hours to kill, do your blood pressure a favor. Rather than read the news, watch the talk shows, or blindly view the nonsensical ravings of the Facebook crowd urging you to go out and tear down a statue, sit down and tune your television to the Hallmark Channel. It's feel-good TV. There's no sex, gratuitous violence and gore. Hallmark movies and series have happy endings. The main characters do the right thing. The problems get worked out. The guy and girl, whatever their age or grumpiness level at the start, always end up together and the wrongdoer (if there is one) is always identified and dealt with. Turn on Hallmark and everyone ends the show smiling.
You get lots of easy-on-your-mind films where the characters always find a way to work together to save their town or store or farm. I am very serious when I tell you the Hallmark Channel works for me. I know many of you will say to yourself that I am simply burying my head in the sand. Maybe you're right but at this point in my life all I can say is give me a shovel because this column is finished and until I wake up to find that all the players have finally decided to venture forth from their safe spaces, pull up their adult boxers, briefs and panties and start acting with a modicum of common sense to undertake a spirited, but civil discourse, to address the myriad problems we are facing as a nation, I am off to watch a Garage Sale Mystery movie on Hallmark!
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