Curtain Raiser

Labor Pains Are Here to Stay, Colltalers

The second of the back-to-back party conventions for the U.S. presidential election, whose cost some estimate at over $8 billion, is about to start this week, and after that, we’ll be on homestretch territory. Again, unless someone else yells at a table, for a change, much of everything will be pretty predictable.
Just like Tampa, last week, Charlotte will be a cadre of powerful gatherings, making final arrangements about which bundle of cash will go to what particular set of policy, all discreetly away from prying eyes. Oh, there’ll also be a string of contrived set pieces and speeches on the big stage, and chances are, we may be even moved by some of them.
Regardless of who you’re hoping will win in November, there’s no better vantage point to observe what our electoral process has become than during this phony ritual of coronation, the party convention.
Which is as scripted and garish a three-ring act, as the behind-the-scenes reality is shady and cash-driven. This year, with the Supreme Court-sanctioned Super PAC rules running amok, it’s quite possible that figure mentioned in the first sentence may be multiplied by itself, before all electoral votes are counted.
If it all sounds so radically oblivious to what’s going on to the millions of unemployed in this country, it’s because it certainly is. And if it looks almost obscene, in the face of the close to 50 million children who’ll go to sleep hungry tonight in this country, oh my, you’d better believe it.
So, please excuse us if we sound too despondent today. After all, it’s Labor Day in the U.S., our most out-of-sync holiday. While it sits four months away from the original First of May, it also brings summer to a close a full two weeks before fall.
Hey, if aging Hollywood stars get to yell at chairs on national TV, and a whole presidential campaign may be won on the sheer assumption that many of us won’t show up to vote when the time comes, we may not be even scratching the thick skin of the monster here.
Forgive us all you mothers out there, though, to whom mentioning labor pains in this post’s headline may sound as another attempt at disfranchising you. On that account alone, we’re keeping this as brief as your trip back to the city is bound not to be.
In any case, as Bruce, the recovering shark, would say, don’t be alarmed. Tomorrow morning we’ll be up on our feet and hoping to change the world once again. And we’ll have the good stories to boot, as always.
However this all turns out, we’re very grateful you found the time to stop by. So have a great one and come back. WC

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