Bring Back Ronnie
by Jan Baughman

I'm bored -- real bored.

Normally, a Presidential election is an event to be savored, with its clash of ideals, the attacks in the press, the posturing and one-upsmanship on last-minute legislation. Perhaps I'm prematurely resigned but I'm afraid that all we have to look forward to in the debates is a battle over the title of "Least Confrontational". The conventions told me so.

Bob Dole has been quoted as saying that he was "willing to be another Ronald Reagan if that's what you want". If Dole wants to have a fighting chance, he should take a few acting lessons. Be extreme, instill fear in us, manufacture an enemy (fortunately, in a time of increased domestic terrorism, Saddam Hussein is making a comeback). Muster up some emotion to bring tears to our eyes simply for being an American.

San Diego brought us the business-as-usual downsizing of government, upsizing of defense, cut in capital gains tax and a few bones thrown to the middle class. I've tried, but I can't say I relate to Dole's middle-class values. Dole is embracing women (figuratively speaking), but I can't say I relate to him as the Defender of Women, either. Firmly established as pro-life, Dole favored "tolerance language" in the Republican platform. Come on, Bob, tell it like it is: that abortion can only be Papally sanctioned in the event of rape by a space alien (as opposed to an illegal alien, but that will soon be a moot point). Bob Dole: Defender of Minorities in the Party of Diversity. Some of his best speakers were minorities. Even his running-mate once had a relationship with minorities, but we know better than to bring that up at the family dinner table.

As for Chicago, there must be a happy medium between 1968 and 1996, between violence and fluff. Sure, we heard the opposite of the above with a few daring words like "abortion" and "gay" interjected by the Other Party of Diversity. Most of all, the Teflon President did an excellent job of squelching the attacks from San Diego. Oh, and did you catch the part about Family Values? I can't say I relate to the Defender of Family Values... The highlight was Jesse Jackson; he told it like it is, with passion and conviction. He brought tears to my eyes, not because of the myth, but because of the reality. If only he had been Clinton's speech writer... or the Democratic Presidential candidate.

We need some fire, before the two Parties of Diversity become the melting pot of uniformity. Watching the election is like watching the Olympics; we are spoon-fed coverage of only the popular, the outcome is known before the race is run, the behind-the-scenes battles stay just there. The drama is staged like a made-for-television movie. No wonder no one votes anymore; they've seen the film and know how it ends. NBC should have been given exclusive rights to cover the conventions; at least there would have been some drama, real or not. But, in the final analysis, it all comes down to supply and demand.

I miss Ronald Reagan. And that scares me.

Published September 18, 1996
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