My ears are ringing and my head is pounding from the noise (literal and figurative) of the election run-up
“‘Cause I am the champion,
and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion,
and you’re gonna hear me roar!”
—Katy Perry & Bonnie McKee
What could be more apropos in the bombastic election season that comes to a close tonight than the pop song “Roar,” by singer Katy Perry, which has served as the official anthem of the Hillary Clinton campaign? Readers of a certain age (like my age, for example) will remember the old Broadway cry, “The smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd!” And what roaring crowds they have been.
Beginning with the campaign rallies many months ago, we sure have gotten an earful, especially from the oversized Donald Trump gatherings. Supporters of the candidate seemed to revel in his blowhard, windbag ways. Decrying anything that could be construed as “politically correct,” his fans were famously captured on tape by the New York Times saying loud, offensive things at rallies.
A half-hour on just about any online social medium has been enough to blur the eyes and rattle the brain. Photos of pets and babies gave way to the meanest of partisan memes. The gargantuan glut of information and misinformation made it so that, on the rare occasion someone posted their favorite recipe, they were cheered as a hero.
Then we were “treated” for days on end to the primetime histrionics of the Republican and Democratic conventions. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani took the stage in Cleveland with the fervor of a firebrand preacher, and everyone thought he was going to blow a gasket. Perry herself appeared in full regalia at Philadelphia, adding her “Firework” to “Roar” and rounding out the repertoire.
Do you enjoy hearing people trying to shout over and through each other? Well, then the debates were a boon for you. As well for “Saturday Night Live,” which saw a ratings boom after enlisting Alec Baldwin to mock Trump and SNL regular Kate McKinnon to channel Clinton in debate settings. The live audiences went wild for Baldwin’s echoing of the ever-interrupting Trump.
But, doesn’t the sacred rite of voting in America require quiet, peaceful contemplation? Having already voted (by mail), I found myself reflecting on whether I had given my choices the quantity and quality of thought they deserved. Should we even vote before taking five minutes of quiet to THINK?
At some point tonight (or early morning), time will come to turn off the television set and switch off the lights. Whatever the results, my fellow Americans, I wish you a well-earned quiet, and may peace prevail throughout the land.
My upcoming novel, ULTIMATE ERROR, is about the human capacity for distraction. In so many ways, we know things aren’t going well in the world today, and we want escape and distraction. As in all things, we must indulge only moderately if we would give ourselves a chance at tomorrow.