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DANCIN' WITH MR. T: Tonight's "Goat's Head Soup" debate

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Nearly five years ago, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney came to Oklahoma City for a fundraiser amongst Oklahoma’s loyal Republicans.

Sitting in the audience, this reporter made no attempt to deceive Gov. Romney when I put my hand up to ask a question. He called on me and when he saw my press pass hanging from my  neck, his demeanor changed. He seemed almost angry, like some hapless underling had accidentally scuffed his wingtips. And while he protested ... a bit, I proceeded to ask him a question about America’s role in the future of space exploration. I have an obsessive interest in the topic. So why not ask, right?

What would you do, governor, to boost NASA and America’s role in exploring the cosmos? Well, not surprisingly, the deer-in-the-headlights expression Romney gave after my question connected to his milk-addled brain led to a dull and canned answer.

“NASA plays a role in an investment in science,” he said, before quickly moving on to safer questions from the slavishly obsequious Republican audience.

Romney clearly had not even thought much about space exploration, even though he was coming up at a time in America’s history when the Space Race was THE thing everyone talked about (besides civil rights, the Vietnam War and the latest Beatles record).

It was sad. And while his conservative peer, Newt Gingrich, had excitedly talked about building moon bases, Romney (for all his Mormon beliefs about having his own planet after death) couldn’t get excited about the notion of sending humans beyond Earth’s orbit – for good.

And while neither Trump nor Hillary seem interested in the subject either (we would be very surprised if it was brought up during tonight’s debate), Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson (who will, sadly, not be on the debate stage at Hofstra University) said on ABC’s This Week program that humanity must look seriously at getting off this rock – for the sake of the future of our species.

“We do have to inhabit other planets,” Johnson said on This Week. “The future of the human race is space exploration.” He's right, you know.

Let's go and find out just what the hell Buzz Aldrin was talking about when he talked about a "monolith" on the Martian moon of Phobos. That is damn interesting and we need to be sending a crew out there to take a look at it. Take pictures. Samples. Let's get some real answers. It will make  the Kardashian-ization of our society seem that much more ridiculous than it already is.


So, as America hits the local liquor store to stock up on a variety of bottles of vodka, Scotch, rum and whatever else they can fit into their car, reporters and political hacks will be slicing and dicing the minutiae of the debate. Did Hillary lie just then? We know Trump lied just then. The Hangover is taking hold. Damn this headache!

But alcohol will be helping America come to terms with the utter horror and absolute blizzard of shame that will be tonight’s presidential debate. Yes, it has come to this. Rusty already stopped at the liquor store for rum and whiskey. We are ready for whatever comes our way, and we'll wake up tomorrow feeling as hungover as ever. I went home with him/her?

Davis Logsdon, of the University of Minnesota, said that the American people are far more interested in the debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton tonight than they were in the debate between Obama and Romney back in 2012, as noted in a story reposted by The New Yorker.

“The stakes seem higher this time,” Logsdon told The Borowitz Report. “There’s a sense that, depending on the outcome of tonight’s debate, all human life on the planet could be in peril.”

The planet is in peril. Our future is at stake. The fat is in the fire, as Raoul Duke used to say.

And yes, Trump and Hillary are both monumentally bad, both crawling from some Dante-esque netherworld of evil savagery. That, and no one really likes them. Yet here we are, America. It's no secret that they're both liars. But like a hometown baseball team whose losing streak is making your community look bad, you still root for them because they’re like family. Cheap seats and cheap beer. What's more American? Why anyone would claim Donald Trump as part of their family is beyond me, but there you go. Greed and narcissism. Hand in hand.

And as a reporter, note that it was not Hillary but the treacherous Trump who has vowed to come after the press with all the power of his bully pulpit, the emphasis on bully.

For those of you who actually care about press freedoms, take a gander at this Trump quote from last February: “I’m gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re gonna open up those libel laws. So that when the New York Times writes a hit piece that is a total disgrace, or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money rather than have no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see, with me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money, I’m not taking their money. We’re gonna open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re gonna have people sue you like you never got sued before.”

We are entering absolutely uncharted waters here, folks. Even when thinking of John Adams’ time or in the dark days of Nixon, right around the time the Stones' Goat's Head Soup was released and Lester Bangs warned about the end of rock n' roll. Dancin' with Mr. D., indeed. Evil mediocrity in the Top 40, alongside Tony Orlando & Dawn and Lou Reed. What year is this? Frankly, we've never quite recovered and the layers of lies and scuzz seem like the New Normal. And the New Normal won't get us into space, unlessa Mars-gazing Elon Musk is the next president. And I don't see that happening.

But Musk has me thinking. note this quote from a writer who has followed the arc of Musk's dreams: "“Musk doesn’t just want fame, or money. He wants eternal glory for doing great deeds.”

Great deeds! And tell me, what "great deeds" have either Trump or Hillary done for you? For anyone?

Well, there you go!

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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