She, Whitney Houston, granted a long-awaited interview. The year was 2002, we, the public, watched from afar as Diane Sawyer, with ABC News questioned, and explored, asking the obvious and the not so obvious. No one can dispute that Whitney was an accomplished entertainer, the voice of weddings, anniversaries, and reunions; casting memories, blessing us with her gifts, delivered with an engrossing smile. Cissy’s daughter, Dionne, Dee Dee, and Leontyne’s cousin; bonded by tradition, imbued by blood, blessed to be undeniably great.
Her voice seemed coarser, body thinner – still pretty she was, a familiar face, looking like our sisters, daughters, friends. Letting us into her home, knowing full-well that our wonderment and curiosity, permitted entrance with the cameras, allowed us to dissect her every word, movement, and flinch. Denying but not denying, admitting but not admitting, she did. Yes, she did.
“Crack is cheap; I made too much money to do crack. We don’t do crack, crack is whack.”
We then knew what we suspected, confirming, watching a star descend on a not so starry night. She never blamed others, never attempted to place blame at anyone else’s feet. “It is my decision, the biggest devil is me”, while pivoting, professing a desire to live, looking to the future. Whitney Houston lost her battle with her devils, dying on February 11, 2012. I muse to say we need not lose ours. Thrills are cheap, a dime a dozen, as this current presidential campaign has shown. The greatest show on earth is mimicking Whitney, too much money to do cheap. “Crack is whack.”
* * *
Why is the greatest show on earth broken? Some preliminary concessions are necessary – from a pure First Amendment analysis I believe money equates to free speech. I believe everyone should be able to participate in the election processes, not without limitations however. You can’t yell fire in the theater (if there is no fire) and believe free speech is going to protect you. I disagree with the Court’s myth that corporations are persons. I do not believe corporations represent unmitigated evil, and I am not willing to rant and rave about a supposed change, knowing full well they (corporations) touch every aspect of our lives, providing wealth, differentiating our society from others. This does not mean we shouldn’t continue to fight for change, adapting the positive part of Whitney’s self-assessment – we too shouldn’t lay blame at anyone’s feet. “Crack is whack.”
The presidential campaign in the United States is a two year process, costing 2.6 billion for the 2012 election cycle (this is the amount of money spent by the candidates; the number does not include the costs of running the election in the various states, nor the parties’ costs), entails primaries and caucuses for each state and territory (some closed and some open). Time, geography, the length of the process has birthed a system allowing small, less diverse states define the initial viability of candidates, permits the southern strategy to ferment and remain a reality (pitting the north against the south, races against races), and a ridiculous debate schedule, laden with an ad nausea speaking schedule (an horror on Elm Street reality-show, birthing silly statements, promises, and contentions, once, twice, thrice). Multiple time zones, three to four cities a day, blending night and day, sleep deprived creatures propped, prodded, kneaded into submission.
Canadians elects their Prime Minister in a far shorter period of time, a minimum length of a campaign is 36 days. Even if we account for population (35 million) (Canada) versus the 326 million (United States), Canada remains the second largest country in the world (land mass) and the United States the fourth. The use of technology, a condensed debate schedule, and having all the states hold their primaries on the same day would work to drive the cost down, lessen the influence of money, and work to stop the insanity, spending billions of dollars which can surely be placed to better use. The reduced and condensed schedule requires the media to condense its reporting (pooling reports), narrow their questioning (more pointed questions), strip and repackage their presentation (taking the show business influence out, recognizing time is at a premium). The population difference between the United States and Canada is accounted for by adjusting Canada’s election period by ten (36 days x 10) still means we can accomplish the election of a president within 360 days (less than one year) from the date everyone is required to announce their candidacy for the office.
So you contend that the schedule means the candidates can’t visit every state – so what. Surrogates, television, and the internet solves the problem, causes the world to become smaller, more connected. The Trump phenomenon should be studied, twitting, telephoning in, dismantling the consultancy industry; reducing the costs by rejecting the previous history and pattern used when running for the highest office in the land. Skype rallies connecting millions. A new day indeed is called for when reality strikes and we realize the billions spent represents money directly and indirectly tied to our pocket books. HULU, HULU … who would have ever thought I would ever compliment Trump?
I bet. I bet … the data reflects the candidates don’t visit every state, concentrating instead on battle ground states, avoiding the blue-blue states and the red-red states. Most of us decide our choice of candidate within months, and absent mind-bending revelations, we don’t move off our position. Technology increases our ability to discover those mind-bending events (there are no secrets anymore), takes away the time for mischief, cheating, and lies and makes the candidates, parties and power brokers realize the reduced schedule levels the playing field, making the political system more responsive. Crack is whack, a slow and predicate death to the greatest show on earth.