WELL, THAT HAPPENED: Political circus

By on August 11, 2015

Republican debate was preview to the absurdity that’s in store


I tuned into last week’s GOP debates for two primary reasons:

1. I had hoped that putting 17 Republican candidates on a single stage would deliver some comedic buffoonery.

2. I was genuinely interested as to what these candidates would bring to the table in terms of policy and perspective. Both of my expectations were met.

Consensus? Blood will be shed in 2016.

Political conversations never end well in my family, and yet we can’t seem to help but limp back to them with our teeth bared. This past weekend was no different. I asked a staunchly conservative member of my family, who, out of the 17 GOP candidates, she thought she might vote for. Recently I took the quiz on ISideWith.com, which asks where you stand on policy questions (full disclosure, I sided with independent Senator Bernie Sanders, 82 percent). I suggested my family member do the same.

I dictated the policy questions and answers to her, and asked, on a scale of one to five, how important the issue was to her. Ultimately, her result was that she sided with Senator Marco Rubio, 87 percent. Afterwards, other family members joined in, and had a very awesome, congenial conversation about certain policies such as the Common Core curriculum, immigration and the recent deal with Iran. I was then asked why I had such a big problem with Fox News.

Not long ago I had read a fascinating book by New York Magazine national affairs editor Gabriel Sherman titled “The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News — and Divided a Country.” The book detailed the birth of Fox News and also a variety of tools and tactics anchors and hosts use to captivate their audience. I mentioned a few of these points — including the fact that Fox News coined the term “Fair and Balanced” before they even went on air — to my family member who became extremely defensive of her network of choice.

“Then what’s the difference between Fox News and CNN?” she asked.

I told her that, while CNN is not perfectly unbiased, they have a better reputation with reporting accurate news, while Fox News has often been accused of ignoring certain facts to manufacture a right-leaning perspective. I asked if there was any other news organizations or publication that she would trust to deliver accurate news.

“No, because all the others are liberal,” she said.

“But what makes Fox ‘fair and balanced’ if they only favor conservative views?” I replied.

“They’re the only ones reporting the truth,” she said.

The peaceful conversation that we’d just had minutes before suddenly turned into a one-sided screaming match about how President Obama is the “most divisive president in history” and how our constitution is being “destroyed.” The event ended with the family member excusing herself for the rest of the night, unable to extinguish her fire.

Watching the GOP debate, with all of the intense cheering and screaming, felt like some sort of circus and not a formal event meant to assist the general public into learning about the candidates. Naturally Donald Trump was the ringleader, getting his biggest cheer of the night after insulting Rosie O’Donnell. Really? We applaud and cheer that stuff now? I fear that with all this hatred in our veins, the upcoming election will be more brutal and unyielding than ever, fueled by the emotions manufactured by our media.

In my perspective, the strangest moment of the GOP debate was the final subject.

Moderator Megyn Kelly said, “We want to ask them an interesting closing question from Chase Norton on Facebook who wants to know this of the candidates: ‘I want to know if any of them have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first.’ Senator [Ted] Cruz, start from you. Any word from God?”

If God’s advice to the candidates is a serious factor in choosing who to vote for — a question the moderators had no problem posing — then this country is in more of a jumble than I thought. We endured 2008 and 2012, but I have a feeling 2016 is going to be unprecedented. More debates are on the way and emotions will fly like confetti. Brace yourselves. PJH

About Andrew Munz

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