Times Without Signs

Times Without Signs September 16, 2016

CampaignsDriving in Maine a couple weeks ago, I saw a small building, looked like it used to be an ice cream stand, sitting in the middle of a parking lot, with a huge sign on the roof, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE SHOP. The sides were plastered with more signs, reassuring customers that We Help You Find the Best Plan, and No One Too Poor to Be Insured, and the like.

There’s a lot of poverty in Maine. I had a memory flash from twenty years ago, of driving through Bangor (north country) and seeing a group of folks with Christian banners, singing outside a bar. One of the women, who looked to be 60, had a cleft palate and lip that had never been repaired. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to live all those years like that.

Millions of folks have health care now who never had it before, thanks to Affordable Health Care, and there are still millions who are still outside the systems.

But the campaign for the Presidency isn’t talking about the health care needs of citizens. It is only talking about the health of the two major party candidates.

There are huge concerns, even battles in this country over education, public schools, the grave national concern for our kids falling rank in the world, people opting out of public school and trying to take a per capita share of the money with them, people who hate testing and people who rely on it.

But the GOP candidate isn’t talking about anything other than day care, and how he loves undereducated people. And the Democratic candidate, who claims her life has been about kids, isn’t talking much about education either.

There’s no public discussion about national email security, and whether American citizens’ emails and online info can be hacked at will by China or Russia,  or what the NSA is doing with their free access to our e-lives,  but inordinate concern is focussed solely on Hillary Clinton’s email.

The campaign started out talking about raising the minimum wage, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside, as, instead, the press focuses on how much the candidates made.

There are charges of business cheating by the GOP candidate, and charges of influence peddling on the Democratic side, but no one is talking about profit gouging, the cost of pharaceuticals.  Epipen has been in the news a lot, but what has either candidate said about that, or about reining in Wall Street, lately?

It’s as if the voters have disappeared, and the only thing that matters is the personal lives of the candidates.

Why does their health matter? Isn’t that why we have a Vice President, so if their health fails, we have a leader?

The choices were starkly contrasted, but now, everything seems to be tit-for-tat. And the polls show them neck-and-neck.

Jesus was always clear about the differences between the rich and powerful, and the poor. This year, we don’t seem to be clear about much of anything.

Last winter there was so much enthusiasm for candidates that NH had record turnout in the polls.

But now it is late September, and my town, which used to bristle with lawn signs, is devoid of them, at least for presidential ones. Driving several miles in each direction, I’ve only seen one Hillary sign and one Trump sign.

The poll takers keep telling us how this is trending. But I’m wondering who is even going to go to the polls –

Indeed, these are strange times.
Image: Portland, Oregon, mayoral election sign – wikivisually.com

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