The presidential election season is approaching halftime, when there will be a slight break before the respective party nominees launch full fledged attacks against each other. I’m already burnt out.
Normally, I don’t watch or read the news beyond the bare minimum of knowing what major events are going on around the world.
Back when I used to follow the news, I came to the conclusion that everything is simultaneously racist, not racist, good for the economy, bad for the economy, good for democracy, bad for democracy, something that everybody should be talking about, something that nobody should be talking about but we’ll talk about how we shouldn’t be talking about it, completely supported by statistics and completely disproved by statistics.
It was all quite stressful, so I stopped following petty politics. Now, I read academic and popular works written by accredited professionals. Politics identifies problems and fabricates causes while academia studies causes and identifies the resulting problem.
Once every four years, I break my abstinence and follow trending American national politics for the presidential election.
It’d be easy to say that petty politics and a media willing to make trivial matters a focal point are products of a people fed on vapid social media, but alas, that isn’t the case.
Just Google the Gold Spoon Oration.
Back in 1840, during the presidency of Martin Van Buren, U.S. Representative Charles Ogle, Whig-PA, gave a speech known as the Gold Spoon Oration: The Regal Splendor of the President’s Palace attacking the incumbent Democrat while praising Whig candidate William Henry Harrison.
Ogle on Harrison:
“An old soldier Harrison, who, to rescue thousands of women and children from the scalping knife of the ruthless savage, freely abandoned all the endearments of home and family, endured the icy and piercing blasts of northwestern winters, wading through the deep and cold waters and black swamps of Michigan and upper Canada, sustaining, at times, an almost famished nature upon raw beef, without salt, and often periling life on the field of battle?”
Ogle on van Buren:
“The survey of smooth lawns and gently sloping meads, covered with rich coats of white and red clover and luxuriant orchard grass, made no delightful impression on their eyes. No, sir; mere meadows are too common to gratify the refined taste of an exquisite with sweet sandy whiskers. He must have undulations, beautiful mounds, and other contrivances, to ravish his exalted and ethereal soul.”
At least if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton talked like Charles Ogle, politics would be more entertaining.