The Elect-yawn

It was a Father’s Day disappointment. No, no, my kids didn’t express filial gratitude by gifting me a cheap pastel tie that pairs well with my long-running series of remote-work mesh shorts.

My disappointment is less personal, all political. We’re a June and a half out from the bajillionith “most important election of my lifetime.” And there’s nothing interesting whatsoever about it.

Take Hallmark’s annual pop-appreciation day, which, given the U.S.’s unmatched rate of single-motherhood, never gets half the fanfare of its maternal equivalent. (You’d think that celebratory mismatch would be some kind of feminist victory, but nooooooo, the girl-boss gals take pride in never being pleased.) Our political class, which seeks to patronize, identity with, coddle, and publicly support every demo dreamed up by Tumblr loons, could at least pay proper tribute to the one half responsible for perpetuating civilization, right?

Yeah, no. The current dawdler-in-chief can’t tell us what a dad is anymore, or a mom, or speak in the simple mammalian binary, thanks to the institutional capture by confused gender ideologues. His social media intern did manage to post a quaint “Happy Father’s Day, America” message, daguerreotype family photo and all. So the basics were covered.

But surely his Republican challengers could do better, making hay out of the Biden administration’s muddled man-parts messaging. Or even the disgraceful fact “Family Man” Joe refuses to acknowledge one of his granddaughters. Our “stupid party” excels best at cheap shots and thin jabs. We were due—no, we were owed—some hypermasculine, high-T bearding from the slew of GOP hopefuls. If Republicans are going to be derided as fascistic strongmen by an emasculated media, shouldn’t we at least get some parody pics of droopy-biceped Vivek Ramaswamy with a Photoshopped barrel chest and Petit Upminn?

No such luck. Instead, we were given mailed-in postings. The best Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s team offered was “have a wonderful Father’s Day” while his campaign’s online store offered the kind of tricorn hat merch your Tea Party grandpa might appreciate. For a self-styled tactical woke-killer, DeSantis blew a perfectly good opportunity to flaunt his pecs in Tallahassee sun, bellowing “100% man-made Florida” or whatever quote fits best on a $35 t-shirt.

After the DeSantis letdown, I eagerly awaited Trump’s papa praise, which I expected to match the crystalline brilliance of his Mother’s Day tribute. Forgive me, dear editor, for quoting the Kantian-length sentences in full: “Happy Mother’s Day to ALL, in particular the Mothers, Wives and Lovers of the Radical Left Fascists, Marxists and Communists. Please make these complete Lunatics and Maniacs Kinder, Gentler, Softer and, most importantly, Smarter, so that we can, quickly, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!”

Hear, hear! A sterling sample of America’s 21st-century bard. Sadly, Trump couldn’t muster the same fertile lyricism for Father’s Day, offering only stale lines about election fraud. My wish deflated faster than the Titanic-hunting submersible. (Too soon?)

The feeling has been depressingly typical. Dashed hope has been the theme of this early election season. We’re eighteen months out from the main matchup, but can any American honestly claim excitement over a president well past his expiration date facing off against the sorry bunch that’s vying for the GOP nod? Biden vs. Trump 2.0? Blech. Sequelitis. Biden vs. DeSantis, who’s struggling to gain a foothold after entering the race with more fanfare than Ronald Reagan’s rotting corpse? Meh. Biden vs. [insert attention-seeking vanity candidate]? I’d rather spend a Saturday afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese during the Black Death than suffer through Nikki Haley, or Will Hurd, or Asa Hutchinson chastising Democrats for not handing Ukraine our entire stock of ICBMs.

This iteration of our quadrennial Oval scramble has been mired in sameness and vapidity. No new candidate, no new idea, no new motto is capturing the public imagination. Sure, Robert Kennedy is making a few splashes with his throwback, quixotic bid. But if he gets anywhere close to actually encroaching on Biden delegates, the CIA will have a few words, and hollow points, for him. Bernie Sanders has wimpishly bowed out of a red-populist challenge. And the entire non-Trump Republican field is regurgitating Bushy bromides about liberal respectability and martial bloodlust.

Where’s the surprise? Where’s the novelty? Where’s the middle-American radical, fight-the-power, anti-establishment, burn-it-all-down, Howard Dean-howl? I still recall standing on the Capitol grounds listening to just-inaugurated Donald Trump vowing to end the “American carnage” and restore a country unjustly dispossessed by a scheming cabal of venal pols. The image was striking, indelible, and glorious: a president accusing his predecessors of selling out a nation in their charge—right to their faces. A master-class in waving double-digits.

Trump occasionally resurrects that potent imagery. (E.g.: “Our streets are riddled with needles and soaked with the blood of innocent victims”; “[I will] obliterate the deep state, drain the swamp, and starve the warmongers—these people that want wars all over the place—killing, killing, killing. They love killing.”) But oftentimes it’s tainted by pathetic squalling for a 2020 do-over. Hearing the last go-around’s loser relitigate his defeat for another year—or until his last breath, at this rate—sound worse than listening to a nonstop SMPTE no-signal screech.

There’s still time for some homegrown crazies to crawl out of our febrile soil to really épater la classe politique. Commie anti-imperialist and race-wrangler Cornwell West is seeking the Green Party nomination. Kanye West is running his own independent bid, only because America lacks an actual Nazi party. The Libertarian Party is denying its nomination to “Tiger King” and clink-dweller Joe Exotica, which is a shame, especially after its last torchbearer made reading “Human Action” as heart-pounding as witnessing a high speed police chase. The wispy white warhawks at No Labels are plotting to deny Trump a non-consecutive second term.

All these eccentric bids make good headline fodder. But they’re doomed from the starting line. Third-party bids are only galvanizing when they’re not milquetoast sops to a reasonable middle. Any major challenge to our elephant-ass duopoly is going to focus on partisan divisiveness, which Americans publicly proclaim to hate, but privately eat up like sleb gossip.

We’re slinking toward another soul-of-democracy-on-the-line ballot royale, and my pulse couldn’t be more staid. Maybe these are just the fussings of late-republic millennial seeking new sensations after decades of technological desensitization. Or it might be that my emotional core is too irony-poisoned to feel that old thrill Chris Matthews got in his nether region. Or perhaps we’re stuck in an elongated purgatory until another 2016-circa Trump emerges, cursed to go through many more cycles of Mitt Romney clones trying out their best human impressions at the hustings.

Where have you gone, Dr. Ron Paul? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you!

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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