That political candidates may promise things they can’t deliver is not, shall we say, unusual. The Wall has not been built; Mexico has not paid for it. Promises are made, offices are won, and then, the story goes, reality is faced.
The story doesn’t end there. The moon may have been promised and only a butte ascended, but still, y’know, progress, and subsequent campaigns focus on maintaining and improving the status quo. The bacon has been brought home; more is on the way. Stay the course. You know what you’re getting, and god knows what will happen to you, your daughters, and your dog if My Esteemed Opponent takes the wheel.
That’s the story, the story we know, the story we’ve been living for generations.
It’s not the story this time.
We’re less than ninety days out, and the real-estate salesman who squats uninvited in our consciousness is getting desperate. He knows he’s not gonna make the sale — he’s known it for months now — but he’s not giving up. He’s not getting the Cadillac, he doesn’t care about the steak knives, but his greatest fear is being fired.
He used to talk about that all the time. Not being fired, doing the firing. He imagined himself Alec Baldwin, but the reality he’s facing is Jack Lemmon.
Which would be a highly amusing spectacle, if not for the reality the rest of us are living.
Because he’s not just making empty promises, not just bullshitting. He holds actual power, immense power, and while we quibble over what he can’t do, there’s plenty he can. Perhaps this innocent clause does give him the power to delay payroll taxes for months. They’re still due in the end — now as a lump sum! — and maybe they’re the excuse we use to provide Social Security, and maybe businesses will sit on that money for the duration instead of passing it on, rendering the effect nil, but it was still something he could say instead of doing something, y’know, practical. It got him through the day, even if the rest of us are faced with days, weeks, months, dealing with the consequences of it, the reality of it.
And that was just yesterday. There’s still today. And tomorrow. And 83 other days until the election.
But perhaps we should count our our blessings with each day that passes. As horrible as our days are, the 165,109 lives lost so far because the man cannot face reality, they still could be even worse. We may be living Glengarry Glen Ross, but thank god we’re not also living Wag the Dog.