One of the phrases that made the 2019 “Banished Words List,” an annual record of overused words and phrases published annually by Lake Superior State University, was, “Most important election of our time.”
As an aside, the list for this year is making itself. “Social distancing,” “unprecedented,” “virtual” and “challenging” -- if not “pandemic,” “COVID” and “coronavirus” -- are all shoo-ins for any list of words we hope to never again hear.
But I digress.
The person who submitted “Most important election of our time” in 2019 wittily commented, “Not that we haven’t had six or seven back-to-back most important elections of our time.”
His point being we tend to get a little dramatic, if not hyperbolic, when election season rolls around.
And you don’t have to look far to see it happening all around you as Democrats and Republicans try to generate some excitement, in the middle of a pandemic, over this year’s presidential race.
Almost three months ago I wrote about the election and said it would be hard to imagine either nominee accepting a nomination via Zoom. Silly me.
Obviously, it’s not so hard to imagine anymore, as the virtual acceptance speech – and virtual everything else -- is here. Although the party conventions have been made-for-television events for the past 50-or-so years, this year’s gatherings meet that description more than ever.
And now, in addition to being made-for-television, they are made-for-the-internet.
The Dems went first last week, as well-orchestrated and largely pre-recorded speeches from celebrities, former presidents, presidential candidates and first ladies permeated the one or two hours of prime time the major networks allowed Monday through Thursday.
In addition to those folks, some fed-up Republicans like John Kasich joined the festivities and made their pleas for ousting Donald Trump.
For my sanity, I did not watch any of the real time coverage, choosing instead to watch baseball. But according to highlights I read, variations on “most important election of our time” were recited throughout the week, as it was explained why the stakes are supposedly higher than ever this time around.
In his acceptance speech, Joe Biden managed to work in “battle for the soul of the nation” as one of his platitudes. Nashville author and historian Jon Meacham, author of “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” should be flattered.
I won’t give you a blow-by-blow (you’re welcome), but Hillary Clinton’s reminder that Joe Biden could get three million more votes than Donald Trump and still lose, recounting her personal experience in 2016, couldn’t help but bring a chuckle.
Yes, Hillary, we realize what a bitter pill that 2016 election was for you (and many of us), but we know, we know, you got more votes than Trump.
History was made as Kamala Harris, Biden’s former opponent for the Democratic nomination and the first Black female candidate on a major party ticket, accepted the nomination for vice-president. Her previous accusations of racism directed at Biden all but forgotten, the two of them made nice and came together to officially launch their campaign.
This week, if you so choose (I’ll again be abstaining, thank you, as the condensed baseball season is almost half-way done and the Braves are in the thick of it), you can listen to the GOP give you their take on “the most important election of our time.”
I’m guessing there will be more battling for the soul of the nation as incumbent Donald Trump and his adherents make their case for how everything will go to hell in a handbasket (speaking of clichés) if we let the Democrats take the White House.
Of course, Trump has not had to wait for the Republican convention to tell you that, having said on more than one occasion the Democrats have “gone crazy.”
A recent Tweet by Trump supporter James Woods perfectly captures the pro-Trump attitude, describing our current president as “your last defender” and going on to say, “If they take him down, America is gone forever.”
In his Retweet, Trump said, “Thank you, James. Sadly, you are 100% correct.”
To summarize, the Democrats are engaging us in a battle for our very collective soul while the Republicans warn us America could be on the brink of extinction.
Do you wonder why I choose to watch baseball?
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].