The term “peanuts” might not seem much related to politics. Perhaps it would help if I said that the Peanuts I am referring to is the Charles Schultz cartoon. But before I delve into that let me provide some context.
American politics is divided, dysfunctional and dystopian. This is not news and, in fact, if anything, understates the current dismal state of affairs and the dangers facing the country.
How bad is it? So bad that George W. Bush or Bush 2, sometimes called shrub, a man consistently wrongheaded; a man who squandered world-wide empathy and support after 9/11; a man lacking intellectual curiosity and the ability to tell fact from fiction; a man who was widely regarded as the worst president in US history, is now seen as a sort of kindly, if misguided, figure who has achieved a certain status as a political elder.
How bad is it? So bad that Dick Cheney, who was instrumental in starting an unprovoked war with a country that posed no threat; who championed torture and black site prisons; eschewed any form of due process and gave every indication that the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat, is invited to Capital Hill and vetted by "liberal" Democrats as a voice of reason and integrity, accompanied by his daughter. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the Ivanka Trump of the Cheney clan, is seen among many liberals as the embodiment of integrity after voting to impeach Trump in what amounted to another skirmish in the Cheney/Trump family feud.
How bad is it? So bad that Richard Nixon doesn't seem evil, so bad that white supremacists are in vogue and in office across the land, so bad...I could go on but you already know all this.
Which brings me to Peanuts Politics. Only in a cartoon world could we image a presidential election between two cognitively challenged septuagenarians; between the Great Pumpkin and Charlie Brown. Charles Schultz always kept us wondering if the Great Pumpkin would arrive and if he did what he would be like. I doubt anyone expected him to be a narcissistic bully obsessed with his own power and willing to do anything to retain it. The Great Pumpkin should never be seen in daylight and only heard on Halloween, but there he was in the White House. If that is not a cartoon, I don't know what is.
And what about our current incarnation of Charlie Brown? Well, like the cartoon Charlie Brown, he lives in a land that exists only in his memory; when good liberal white politicians could break bread with racists white supremacists and get the business of government done, as long as the business only supported whites.
Most importantly, Charlie Brown is the eternal, if delusional, optimist. We get to see Charlie charging up to kick the football that Joe Manchin, playing the part of Lucy, is holding, only to have it whisked away at the last minute and see our poor hero go crashing to the ground. And then do it all again and again and again, his trust never fading, but always misplaced.
We like Charlie Brown, or at least the cartoon character, which seems odd. Americans don't tolerate losers and yet the endearing loser Charlie in cartoon land is beloved. Perhaps that is the magic of Charles Schultz, but it doesn't seem to be working for Amtrak Joe. In this new cartoon Charlie is likely to be carted off to the old folks' home, leaving the field to the Great Pumpkin and his cult
One Small Voice
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