This is the Life: U.S. presidential race creating feeding frenzy

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Lorne Eckersley is the publisher of the Creston Valley Advance.

“We like the zoo because we’re animals, too.” That catchy little ditty was playing on CBC Radio as I drove home for lunch the other day, and I thought it was a strange coincidence because at the same time I was composing — in my head, as always — this week’s column.

My theme was easy — not my monkeys, not my zoo. It is the phrase I use to calm myself with each time I read about the lunacy that passes for the U.S. presidential race. Say what you like about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, neither of whom are likely to restore the U.S. to a country that once used ideals to frame its constitution, big idea ideals that sound as good today as they must have when they were written. But when Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — two pandering, anti-everything-that-is-decent creeps if there ever were any — are running second and third in the primary race, having defeated yet another Bush (who was almost starting to look like a plausible option for a few days) and looking like the only options to Sideshow Don, it gets downright scary to think that we live within a few minutes of a border that could soon be secured with the Trump Wall.

Those who thought Donald Trump’s entry into the presidential race was a bit of a lark and yet another way to draw attention to himself and his burgeoning reality show image can be forgiven. Not so many months ago it would have been unthinkable that such a character could, or would, take even his own candidacy seriously. After all, a guy who has never run for, let alone won, a public office, who declares bankruptcy with impunity, who stomps on little people for the fun of it all, shouldn’t take himself seriously. Should he? Well, I suppose he’s entitled, but what of the large number (thought admittedly far from a majority) of citizens who have jumped on his bandwagon?

How is it that they cannot see this carnival barker, this shill for his own interests, this man who is void of policies and ideas, poses more of a danger than any candidate in recent history? It’s easy enough to see why a large number of citizens are frustrated, even angry, with the status quo. Self-serving to the point of corruption, elected candidates in both parties have been an affront to democracy. But they were, as Trump would be, elected by the very people who are angry. No voter gets a free pass on this decline in political morals and ethics.

But to turn to a multibillionaire, who inherited a fortune and yet proclaims himself to be a self-made man, is nothing short of obscene. To elect him would be the equivalent of putting Robert Picton in charge of the prison farm (does anyone seriously believe that he wrote that book?) or letting Clifford Olsen run the prison staff day care centre. I mean, seriously, what in Donald Trump’s past would indicate that he has compassion for the very people who are now supporting him, or the complex skill set a president should have?

More to the point, does anyone actually trust him to a position of power that includes the ability to activate a nuclear bomb with the push of a button? With an ego equal to, and an intellect far beneath, that of Vladimir Putin, it doesn’t take much of an imagination to think that Trump could attempt to outsmart the former KGB man, to out-bully the bully.

I can’t imagine that American voters will ultimately elect a self-declared socialist to the presidency, and I think that the only positive thing about Hillary Clinton is that she would be the first female president. The appearance that she seems closely allied to Wall Street and big banks, which have not changed significantly since their shenanigans nearly brought the world economy to its knees, means more of the same old, same old. The Democrats have for decades operated under the assumption that not being the Republicans is good enough. And not being a Republican might be enough to defeat The Donald, but it won’t be sufficient to ease the fear and distrust of those who support him.

Not my monkeys. Not my monkeys. Not my monkeys. Om…

Lorne Eckersley is the publisher of the Creston Valley Advance.