I watched the second, low-rent, Jerry Springer Show-style presidential “debate” last night. My excuses are: academic interest and comedic value. These are only excuses.
One might have noticed the emblem hanging over the backdrop of the event – the eagle on the American flag surfboard, “The Union and the Constitution Forever”:
Daily Mail, UK.
Look at it and then imagine that bird ripping the big one. Makes more sense than the candidates. The motto derives from a mid-19th Century speech by a Massachusetts minister.
And last night Hillary and Donald proved that motto a falsehood. Nothing in the Constitution says the Union is forever, Imperial Abe’s War notwithstanding. The ratifying States by and large reserved the right to exit when appropriate, some explicitly so.
Not that it matters. The Union is dead. The idea of 50 independent, sovereign states is a thing on the past, even to those states. Today they are merely regional sub-jurisdictions of the Empire. The Empire created by the Constitution, which is also dead.
Said Constitution received only the barest mention last night. It has joined the Magna Carta and Plato’s Republic on the shelf of quaint historical curiosities.
Most of the “debate” revolved around each of the two clowns telling us how horrible the other is. I, for one, believe them. Here and there a little policy leaked into the discussion. In those instances, there was consensus – big government will solve the problems created by big government. Style only separated the answers and suggestions.
Trump, for all his zingers, missed a golden opportunity to land one for freedom. He and Hillary were asked by a panelist what part of the tax code they would repeal to keep things “fair”. (And where did they get that cast of cartoon character audience panelists from?) Neither candidate answered. They used the chance to take further shots at each other. A real and better answer would have been: “The Sixteenth Amendment. The rich and the poor should pay both the same percentage and the same amount in taxes: zero.”
And, so it went last night. It was entertaining, if uninformative. Trump complimented Clinton for being a resilient fighter. The same could be said for him. Never before have we been offered two such pitiful choices. However, both are tough, almost bullet-proof – like blocks of steel. And that’s how I imagine each would govern: like a block of steel: heavy, immovable, bland, and unthinking.
You’d be just as well off voting for the Surfin Bird.