Viewpoint

Snap the ball before we explode

Stuck in the middle of a hot summer, here’s what’s been going on:

▪ Donald Trump announced he’s running for president and promptly slapped (verbally) Mexican immigrants and Mexico. The only thing hotter than the reaction from those not fans of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Trump Circus, was the response to that reaction from those who are.

▪ The Obama administration made a pact with Iran that may be the worst deal since the Canarsee Tribe sold Manhattan to the Dutch. Despite 28 years in the Senate, John Kerry forgot his way to Capitol Hill and ended up at the United Nations. Republican presidential candidates broiled Kerry and Obama. Not satisfied with mere broiling, Mike Huckabee reached for “the oven door.”

▪ A series of videos either showed or were edited to show Planned Parenthood staffers talking cavalierly about selling the remains of aborted fetuses. Conservatives reacted with an outrage liberals save for executed lions.

We’ve always been polarized politically, we Americans, though we seem to have short memories about it. Watergate, or Clinton-Lewinsky, anyone? Or, we lack historical perspective. See “Infamous Scribblers,” Eric Burns’ account of the fiery politics of the Founding Fathers and firebrand journalism of the day.

What does seem different now is the shortness of the reaction-fuse on each side of seemingly every political issue. And the way the blast and fallout are of cataclysmic proportion, whether what was set-off was atomic or a firecracker.

Maybe there’s something to the Global Warming. Maybe everyone’s brains are baked.

Maybe it’s the fact that anymore, only pyrotechnics get covered or talked about in politics. The media need shock and awe. Critical thought and nuance went out with William F. Buckley and David Broder.

Or maybe, it’s because it’s been 184 days since the last snap of an NFL football. The National Football League is the most pervasive non-political distraction in America. We are not nice people when we don’t have pro football. When we don’t have our football jerseys to rally around, we channel our Fightin’ Sides all the more into our political jerseys.

You may think I’m kidding, but I’m not. And I’m worried. Next year, when we’re stuck without football in the middle of the summer, we’ll also be stuck in the middle of a presidential election year.

You think it’s hot now?

Larson is the mid-morning host at WBT-AM (1110).

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