Archive for September, 2015

Is this a presidential debate or another reality TV show?

Friday, September 18th, 2015
Shawn Magrath

Donald Trump. Need I say more?

There doesn’t seem to be any restraint when it comes to the absurdity of current politics. Watching the first five minutes of the nightly news could tell you that. But with presidential elections just year and two months away (as if that’s practically on top of us), we’re forced to pay attention to the three ring circus that’s become our electoral process. Admittedly, I haven’t been following elections coverage because in my opinion, it’s far too much far too soon. I’ll wait until the bid for the highest office in the land takes a more serious turn before I tune into any debate. And yet for many, watching candidates scramble for support, be they Republican or Democrat, is like watching a train wreck. You know it’s going to be ugly, but you just can’t look away.

When did we start treating presidential debates as if they’re for entertainment purposes only? In August, Fox News landed the largest non-sports viewership in TV history when the network aired the first GOP primary debate. That debate garnered 24 million viewers. This week, CNN got its most watched televised event ever with the second GOP debate, which attracted 23 million.

Maybe it’s just my instinct, but there’s something unsettling about that many viewers. I find it hard to believe people are watching because they’re not sure who to vote for – at least not this early in the game. We’re still five months away from the Iowa Caucus. So if people aren’t watching these debates to make a civil decision, then they must be watching because… well, it’s amusing. Come on, those 23 million people don’t care about Trump’s views of national and international policy. They want to hear his next off color comment about immigrants. Or muslims. Or women. Or puppies. Or anybody and anything not himself. It must be a TV producer’s dream to draw so many viewers without any more effort than pointing a camera at a face and letting the magic just happen. More work goes into putting together an episode of “The Bachelor.”

Maybe Jake Tapper should have handed out a rose to each candidate moving onto the next round.

To be fair, it’s great that people are paying attention. I’d like think at least one or two important nuggets of information have made it through all the the drivel and chaos. But I can’t help but wonder how this whole ordeal is making us look on the world stage. How can we be taken seriously as a nation when we don’t even take ourselves seriously.

End rant and insert transition into a new topic here…

While not a new issue, Roots and Wings in Norwich finally came forward with what I think was a clear message this week: They don’t want your garbage. From old mattresses and worn furniture, to broken electronics, toys and household appliances, there’s not much Roots and Wings hasn’t seen piled in a heap at its door step. Unfortunately, this stuff causes more harm than help since the organization has to pay tipping fees when staffers haul it to the landfill. And where does all this junk come from? Folks who, under the guise of supposedly giving back to the community, unload it unsolicited during non-business hours when nobody’s there to turn them away. This is by no means a slight to people who donate items with good intentions, but I say boo to those who have no limits to the adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” If you have a garage full of worthless junk, don’t push it off on someone else because it’s a cheap way of getting rid of it. Pay the tipping fees yourself.