I suppose it was inevitable that the medium would – as Marshall McLuhan observed a long time ago – become the message. And that is just what has happened to American democracy. It has become a carnival… a traveling road show… a latter-day chiaroscuro.
There is no message to be found in this presidential campaign, just quips and barbs, and hints of dark, menacing drama – made for TV.
Yes, there are some broad promises of a better tomorrow, but any credible explanation of how this is to be brought about has been lost in the glitz and hype.
This campaign is focused entirely on “the Show.”
For example, tomorrow night’s debate is being promoted like a professional wrestling event.
“Head to head for the first time!” screams an ad for CNN’s broadcast.
“Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton square off,” a political web site advises.
“Clinton, Trump prepare to battle,” ABC-TV exults.
The debate itself is overshadowed by the antics of various “celebrities” who have been invited to attend or who have chimed in with comments and suggested questions.
And the celebrities involved don’t just include Stephen Colbert, Jane Fonda, Stephen King, and so on…
The breathless media is reporting that Mark Cuban, the billionaire entrepreneur, Dallas Mavericks owner and reality TV star, will sit in the front row. And – even better! – Gennifer Flowers has vowed to sit next to him as payback!
As you probably know by now, Mark Cuban is Trump’s sworn enemy and Gennifer Flowers is a devoted Trump supporter.
Is that great TV or what?
You know who Gennifer Flowers is, don’t you? Two decades ago, she proclaimed to the world that she was once Bill Clinton’s mistress and has since become a Penthouse Magazine model and one of TV’s favorite guest celebrities.
Yes, that Gennifer Flowers (photo above).
Is this is what the world’s leading democracy has come to? Lord, give me strength!