One of the most unfortunate cultural developments in recent decades is so-called reality television. I’m not talking about shows where people compete based on their talent to sing, dance or cook or show with ordinary people doing things like running a pawn shop or driving a truck. They actually reflect reality. My complaint is about shows that have people do bizarre things like being stranded on an island or show people way out of the mainstream like bearded duck callers or bimbo sisters with no discernable talent.
Some might say this is harmless escapism. When I was young we had shows about witches, genies and (believe it or not) a dead mother that was reincarnated as a car. Those shows had no impact on our culture. Reality TV is a different story. News broadcasts are becoming more about entertainment. We will hear a lot more sensational crimes and political fights than what is really important to our lives. Even worse, it has changed we look at the world and our standards of acceptable behavior.
Now we are seeing a reality TV star running for president. Donald Trump is the ultimate reality star. The ability to entertain us, exploit our fears or come up with pithy quips should not be the benchmarks we use to evaluate presidential candidates.
Thomas Jefferson was in a long-term affair, Abraham Lincoln was ugly and Franklin Roosevelt was in a wheelchair. If they were running today, they wouldn’t stand a chance.