Our two most recent presidential candidates often provided mirrors for us to see ourselves as others see us. If you are like me the experience was not always positive.
My friends and family who supported Clinton often reacted with pity or chagrin when I questioned whether she had the character to lead. Those who supported Trump often reacted angrily if I wondered out loud if his campaign rhetoric disqualified him.
What I found most puzzling was the reaction from members of both camps if I voiced no opinion. Whether they were Clintonians or Trumpers they invariably assumed my reticence meant I was for the candidate they were against or, at least, was not for the candidate they supported. Such projection upon me of their insecurities made me wonder what they really thought about their candidate.
Were they afraid the opposition research or Fox News or CNN might have some actual validity when their candidate was exposed? Was that experience a little like an attendee at a church revival might feel when some modern day Elmer Gantry begins to cast out demons or a contemporary Cotton Mather hunts witches to burn?
Or, have Americans fallen so far under the spell of Wolf Blitzer and Sean Hannity we do not care what is true but only care that bad things be aired about those we despise? About thirty wasted seconds watching Jerry Springer should give us our answer.
Even after five hundred years of non-native influence we Americans still think of ourselves as a young country. Maybe that volksgeist is why we engage in childish diatribes instead of mature analysis. Now, I do not know if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump are either, both or neither the Devil’s gifts to the national media. However, I do know that if we and our representatives continue to engage in this food fight we call debate, our plates will always be filled with garbage.