Thursday, July 21, 2016

Oz Comes to Manhattan

Where has America's sense of geography gone? It was intact when Obama
and Biden campaigned, was it not? With their nominations, the democrat
party married the interests of Illinois and Delaware--not the greatest
spread in the political alliance business, but clear nonetheless. That
particular pair avoided all identification with the powerful Northeast
and the defiant South. It avoided all talk of the Civil War because
that pair never dipped below the Mason-Dixon Line, which forms
Pennsylvania's southern border, as well as Delaware's western border.

The most famous case of a political marriage for convenience occurred
in 1960. of course, when Massachusetts wed Texas with the democrat
presidential race of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Under
the heading of the presidential campaign of 1960. Wikipedia even
notes: "Kennedy relied on running mate Lyndon B. Johnson to hold the
South, and used television effectively." Each pair of candidates can
thus clearly be seen as a strategy to hold the country together by
means of the geographical distribution of the interests, resources,
and votes which both candidates offer as a dowry of sorts.

In the case of Kennedy and Johnson, according to the media at the
time, the pair seemed constantly on the verge of divorce. The cause
was not political, but cultural. Comments about Johnson's handling of
his dog--lifting him by the ears--made headlines in the media, which
also featured lengthy coverage of personal quirks. Photographs
appeared of Johnson displaying his belly scars; his nickname for his
wife, Lady Bird, also received repeated treatments, as if Lyndon did
not enjoy the privilege of calling his wife by any nickname that the
two found acceptable and endearing.

The reason for this public ridicule was not hard to find. The dialects
of the two candidates were so distinctive that they could not open
their mouths without announcing their origins. In addition, Jacqueline
Kennedy served as a walking advertisement for the most sophisticated
apparel designers, while the Johnsons lived on a ranch, and fancied
barbecues. Such observations might appear as the height of fluff
pieces in journalism, except they were not. They testified, instead,
to the country's consciousness of its own geographical divisions and
the trouble it took to combine alliances across America's great East,
North, South, and West.

The contrast between the media's coverage of the 1960 presidential
election and the 2016 presidential election could hardly be more
significant. To hear the media describe Trump and Pence, a viewer
might conclude that they came from nowhere in particular, unless the
set for interviews includes Trump Tower, and the Trumps point to the
New York skyline. Otherwise, the media appear not to notice that
combining the forces of the Empire State and the Hoosiers is an
obvious strategy to wed America's most outstanding urban interests to
this country's grand Midwest.

Current media headlines might read: Oz Comes to Manhattan, or
conversely, The Yellow Brick Road Leads Trump to Indiana, which has
plenty of Dorothy's famous tornadoes. Instead, viewers of the
Republican National Convention hear constant nagging about Trump's
manner of speech, or they are plagued by vague descriptions of
convention attendees as inattentive or unenthusiastic. Would it be too
much to expect that journalistic coverage reflect the barest
historical knowledge, along with relevant statistics? Viewers deserve
more than another visit with Watter's World on Fox News, where people
in the street reveal they haven't a clue where they are or what's
happening. This is a national election. Dippy media coverage is NOT

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