I like reality television, but mostly shows like Top Chef or Project Runway. I love cooking and I’m an aspiring seamstress. I use aspiring loosely; I have a sewing machine that works even if I don’t.
I rarely watch The Real Housewives of where ever in front of Bob, but I do watch them if only to remind myself that lack of class is not limited to socio-economic or geographical boundaries. I switch channels when the trash talk becomes loud and mean. When Abercrombie & Fitch requested that Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and the rest of the cast of Jersey Shore stop wearing their label, I could sympathize with A & F.
I occasionally wonder if my advanced age contributes to a lack of patience with these types of shows. Would I watch those shows if I were younger? I am an alcoholic and pre-1998, I did quite a few things that I’m not proud of doing in an alcoholic haze. I like to think that, in recovery, my maturity is advancing along with my age. I don’t know that, but I do know that today I try to avoid that kind of entertainment.
With no thought of that, Bob and I turned on the GOP debate on January 26. I haven’t watched the debates, reading the recaps on the Internet, listening to Morning Edition the day after, and watching PBS News Hour and The Daily Show to stay caught up with the discussion.
There are a couple of reasons why I don’t watch them on the first run. Numero uno is that I am a liberal Democrat. I am bleeding heart enough that I think President Obama is too conservative in matters dealing with our children, the largest growing group of U.S. citizens at the poverty level; our education system, nationally inconsistent and under-funded; our healthcare system, which leaves many of our citizens under and uninsured with no available resources; the women in our country, who consistently get thrown under the political bus; and, our environment, which is losing ground as greed outweighs interest in preserving the gifts God has given us.
Second, I don’t watch them for the same reasons I don’t watch Jersey Shore. These people are mean to one another and people are loving it. When Ron Paul suggested that sick, uninsured Americans should just die, he got applause. The audience outbursts uncover a mean-spirited streak that cheers for Texas’ affinity for the death penalty; boos at anything less than a “send ’em back to Mexico” immigration policy; applauds at the mention of waterboarding and torture as an interrogation technique; and jeers an African-American reporter who asks questions about poverty, inequality and racial stereotypes.
There have been 24 GOP debates which started in May, 2011. The field has included 10 candidates, I think: Bachman, Cain, Johnson, Pawlenty, Paul, Perry, Huntsman, Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich. We are down to the final four.
John McCain, our 2008 Republican presidential candidate, has suggested that it’s time to stop the debates. McCain told Meet The Press‘ David Gregory, “Enough with the debates, because they are driving up our candidates’, all of them, unfavorability. We have enough of that. They’ve turned into mud wrestling instead of an exposition of all our candidates views. And it’s time to recognize who the real adversary is, and it’s not each other.”
At the January 26 debate, it was hard to watch the sarcasm and rancor between the two front-runners, Gingrich and Romney. After a particularly evil skirmish between them regarding Freddie Mac, I have to agree with Rick Santorum and that’s something I pretty much would never do. He said, “The bigger issue here is, these two gentlemen, who are out distracting from the most important issues we have been playing petty personal politics…And you guys should leave that alone and focus on the issues.”
What a novel concept.
For those who enjoy the debates, we might consider some television programming for the 2013 season when at least a few of the GOP contenders will be available. I nominate Ron Paul for a spot on Survivor. He might not last long on the show since he’s an isolationist, but he has self-reliance going for him. I like Cain for Wife Swap with Newt Gingrich, but it might be one of those art imitating life things. How about Gingrich and Perry as team-mates on The Amazing Race? If Newt had to look to Rick for assistance on a mountain climb, he’d probably live in fear of the dreaded “Oops.”
Cain could compete on American Idol or team up with Santorum for America’s Got Talent. They could be the next Pryor and Wilder comedy duo. Michelle Bachman for Big Brother? Having her join The Real Housewives of D.C. is just predictable. Letting Romney join The Real World cast might be an injustice for the cast. I’m not sure if Mitt has ever visited the REAL world in his life so I’m not sure how he could cope.
All that’s assuming that these folks are free for the 2013 season. For all I know, President Obama could be looking for a gig after the elections. I hope not. The majority of the American public might prefer a self-righteous, mean-spirited president; I don’t. We’ve survived several of them, though, as a nation, although I don’t think I’ve heard the tone and pitch reach these strident levels until the past few years.
But I know that God loves America along with the rest of the world even when we don’t act like God’s children. I count on that. That’s reality enough for me.