As American As Television

Andy Dick was in middle of saying something zany about Japan when the screen cut out. There wasn’t a flicker or wonky distortion, not even snowstorm static.  Just black.

I tried to resuscitate it over the next few days with a frankenstein mix of power cables plugged into any available socket.  Nothing could bring back that familiar buzz followed by the friendly Samsung ON chime.  So I called it like one of those defeated surgeons on hospital shows: my TV set was dead.

It was time to inform the family.

My sister asked me what went wrong, was I sure it was a goner?  It was old, I told her.  These things happen, I said.  Heck, it was on that TV I had seen Obama deliver his victory speech back in 2008.

Static AMerican Flag

It wasn’t until then I had realized that moment–Obama standing in Grant Park, a mass of supporters braving the chilly Chicago night air, America poised to have its first black President–was one of my favorite moments in television history.  Of course in American history it is of great importance, but as a television event it is, to me, paramount.

I wept as I listened to the man who would be President appeal to our history, to our best selves, to our hopes and our aspirations; my heart swelled as a man who barely knew his own father take up the mantle of leadership with dignity and courage; I felt a renewed identity as an American when our soon-to-be Commander in Chief championed the rebuilding of our country in the spirit of community and inclusivity.

Eight years later my TV set is dead, President Barack Obama will be leaving office, and Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for the President of the United States.

Somehow between these two points in time the presidential message of hope has been replaced with a tirade of fear and divisiveness.  Instead of a call to grow towards the future, Trump cries to retreat into a time that never existed.  Where President Obama stood for mutual sacrifice and service, Donald Trump boasts that he can fix it and that the problem is the other guy’s fault.

In short, Trump’s rhetoric fails to inspire and aims to destroy.

To those who consider voting for Trump in November I have this proposal: let’s keep him on reality TV.  True reality is too complex for him.

As for my new TV, I’m glad it will be able to witness the victory speech of the first female President of the United State of America–which, I am sure, will inspire millions.

 

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