10:58:11 am on
Tuesday 23 Jul 2024

AJ Robinson

When I was a child, my parents smoked. Mom had her cigarettes, which she quit and took up again; quit again, smoked again and finally gave up, entirely. Dad loved his pipe and cigars, but the pipe eventually fell by the wayside and even the cigars diminished to be almost unnoticeable.

Second-hand smoke and medication.

Did I mention I had breathing issues as a toddler and young child? Yes, a physician called it wheezing and gave me all manner of medicines for it. Mom kept a bottle of one medication in the medicine cabinet to give me any time the wheezing was especially bad.

Here’s the thing: the physician, never conceiving any connection with smoking, did not suggest my parents lay off the smoking around me. This was the late 1960s and early 1970s. The warning, by the Surgeon General, regarding the dangers of smoking, had been around for a while and the physician should have know better.

Granted, the Surgeon General warning didn’t mention of second-hand smoke, but you would think someone would have seen the connection between my health and their habit. I remember an issue of MAD Magazine featured the exact scenario in which I lived. A family goes out for an evening of dinner and a movie; the little boy gradually gets sicker and sicker from the many people around him smoking.

Taken to a physician, the family is told that if the kid doesn’t stop smoking, he’s a goner. It never occurred to anyone to say the same for me. Besides, in that era, so many people smoked; plus, the cigarette companies were deep into their campaign of disinformation about the dangers.

I can forgive my parents, their ignorance of medical facts and their acts. Oh, and by the way, I’m rather healthy now. There are no apparent lingering effects.

This is what’s important: how does a bad habit disappear? My parents learned, grew and changed; I did fine. Many people, these days, don’t get that and that’s why I fear the Democrats are going to lose in the fall.

Yes, I know everyone is talking about the Blue Wave or even a Blue Tsunami, but I have no confidence in the ability of the Democrats to pull it off. I keep hearing of massive voter turnout, more people registering and that the Republicans are vulnerable.

I don’t know that it’s going to be enough. It has nothing to do with the usual hurdles to overcome, such as voter apathy, voter suppression and outside interference. No, it has to do with the Democrats eating their own, so to speak.

Everyone has a skeleton or two in his or her closet.

A while back, I heard of an award show that couldn’t have a host. It wasn’t that no one was available, it was that they couldn’t find someone that was acceptable to everyone. Every person they tested had something in their past that made them toxic.

It didn’t matter that the blocking incident was a joke they told ten years ago or an interview they gave fifteen years ago. It didn’t matter that, at that time, the act was perfectly acceptable. No, they had violated the norms of today and, therefore, were tainted for all time.

That’s what’s going to sink the Democrats, a perpetual taint. As of this writing, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are shaping up to be the two frontrunners to be the Democrat candidate for president; Super Tuesday confirmed frontrunner status. Just recently, Bernie was interviewed on 60 Minutes and dared to compliment the Castro Regime regarding its literacy program.

Now, Sanders also condemned Cuba for numerous other vile acts, but that didn’t matter. Reporters and pundits immediately jumped on that one statement. The media made it clear the chance of Saunders winning Florida, where many Cuban exiles live, had instantly dropped to virtually zero.

Contrast that with Trump. How many dictators has he openly praised and made clear he admires? How often has he spoken of how great Putin is and that the fact Putin has people murdered is okay because the United States is just as guilty of such crimes? Yet, do the Republicans and conservatives take him to task for those statements? Has Rush Limbaugh or Fox News ever scolded him for any of these remarks? Heck, when was the last time anyone in the mainstream media has brought it up?

If Bernie is the candidate, endless commercials will feature a sound bite of the 60 Minutes comment, hourly if not several times an hour, right up to election day. Will the Democrats put up similar ads about Trump? No, they’ll be too busy doing damage control on Bernie and countless Democrats and Independents will turn away from him over this one single issue.

If Biden wins the Democratic nomination, well, expect advertisements, harping on his connection to Ukrainian corruption will flood the air waves and social media. In fact, I read an article saying Senate Republicans are considering issuing a subpoena to have him testify on the matter; what convenient timing. Again, this will be parroted by every Republican, pundit and reporter from now until voting ends.

Can the Democrats win in November? Yes, if they have the grit and tenacity to do so. I doubt if they will.

Will they?

The demand of the rank and file for a candidate that passes their purity test, one hundred percent, makes that virtually impossible. If I can forgive the errors of my parents and embrace them, you’d think voters could do the same with whoever is our candidate. Will they?

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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