Saturday, August 13, 2016
"Hey Babe, wake up. You've never seen a really BIG wreck, have you?
True story: Many years ago I was driving north on Interstate 35 in Dallas when a commercial garbage truck a couple of hundred feet in front of me, the kind that picks up entire dumpsters and tosses the contents overhead back into the big box at the rear, began to fishtail. (I later learned the rear axle broke, causing the loss of control.)
At 75 mph it was a pretty exciting sight! First it swerved left, then abruptly right, then hard left again, back and forth, all while the truck was rapidly decelerating. The slower it got, the more dramatic the truck leaned. Right as it came to a complete stop it fell over on its side, spilling garbage all over the highway. What a mess!
For some reason this memory I still carry after all these years came back into focus when I thought about our current presidential election season. As I see events unfolding, the similarities are uncanny.
A year ago things started out as you might expect, nothing unusual, just your typical sunny day. A gaggle of the usual career politicians jumped into the presidential race along with a couple of oddballs, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. *Really? Snicker* Then, defying all odds, the oddballs (pun intended) showed they had tapped into some deep resentments in the population.
The process began to go off traditional course...the axle broke. The Democrats swerved hard left behind Bernie, and the Republicans hard right behind the completely off-the-wall Trump, all while their opponents pulled over to the side to avoid being squashed. (The opportunistic Hillary Clinton grabbed the steering wheel out of Bernie's hands at the last minute.)
Now the finish line is in sight, and the fishtailing participants are becoming more and more erratic. WikiLeaks publishes some embarrassing emails about Hillary, and Donald Trump somehow finds room for another foot in his mouth and doesn't hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity.
So on election day, November 8th, is the out-of-control election truck going to finally fall over on its side, either left or right, spilling garbage all over the countryside?
Here's my takeaway from all this: The candidates themselves are actually irrelevant, but the nerves they touched in the electorate...that is the real story this year...are here to stay, and will likely become more inflamed as time goes on.
Donald Trump will soon be a historical footnote (the polls say Hillary will win, but as she is so widely reviled she'll likely be an ineffective President), and Bernie Sanders will retire to his rocking chair as Provocateur Emeritus.
The big news in all this is America is being seriously shaken up. Those who actually run America, who pull all the important strings, have taken things too far some say, and the people are royally pissed about it. It's all coming into focus for many Americans. "Building a wall" and "Feeling the Bern" are more than just cute slogans. IMO they're going to be permanent movements that won't just go away on November 9th.
Regardless of who wins, it looks like there might soon be a lot of garbage strewn all over the place. We might should get our shovels ready.