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Pick Your Poison

This past week at the Democratic National Shit Show (DNSS), a spin off of UnREAL, Bernie (“I am proud to stand with her”) Sanders watched as his candle was snuffed. The producers, operating the strings, and Bernie, knew he wasn’t “wifey” material. Wifeys are establishment and while Bernie proved to be establishment, he was cast as a revolutionary. Small r.

I need to back up and provide context here. In reality or reality TV, UnREAL is a drama that presents the making of a show within a show. The show within is Everlasting, based on The Bachelor. If you’ve seen The Bachelor or are familiar with it even distantly, you know that contestants compete for affection. Just like political candidates. The prize on Everlasting is love and marriage to a wealthy hunk. The ultimate prize in politics is also muscular: the most powerful man/women in the world, although this job description may beg modification soon due to years of imperialistic plunder draped in American exceptionalism. This course bound to run its course deserves a global-smackdown comeuppance.

Perhaps the planet will suffer a painfully slow death from a diseased ecosystem …. or annihilation, the result of nuclear war.

Anyway, UnREAL is its own little empire. What makes it feel so huge is the diabolical manipulation of Everlasting contestants. The two female leads are narcissists who have “Money Dick Power” inked on their wrists. (A few of the contestants also are narcissists.) Young women who stand no chance of winning are told in whispers that they’ll be chosen. “I know I shouldn’t tell you this but he wants you.” I’m paraphrasing but you get it. When a hopeful isn’t selected, the cameras move in to reveal and illuminate every expression of pain. This makes for higher ratings. So do closet skeletons. Conditions, like bulimia and drug and alcohol addiction, are desirable fodder, traps to be exploited with the expectation of a catfight, an emotional collapse. One woman, tragically denuded, commits suicide. This is unexpected, yet exploited nonetheless.

Like Sanders. Thrown under the bus. This not only was anticipated, it also was preordained, essential to the plot.

Unsurprisingly, the Democratic National Committee conspired. Emails released by WikiLeaks illustrate that Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other committee officials demanded the ascendancy of Hillary Clinton (Gasp). Here’s one written by Brad Marshall, chief financial officer of the committee: “Does he [Sanders] believe in a God? He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps.” Marshall’s peeps being Jesus fans.

At the DNSS, Sanders became weepy—feeling the love—yet he didn’t dissolve in sobs of disappointment. At least not on TV. Instead, he encouraged party unity. Everlasting capitulation to neoliberalism.

Clinton, the establishment’s choice, broke the glass ceiling. Her resumé’s replete with breaking. Breaking lives, breaking countries. She, like contestants on Everlasting, has skeletons, many of which are un-closeted. Clinton’s role in the military intervention in Libya is merely one example. Anyone oohing and aahing that she’s the nominee needs reminding of her inhumanity and sociopathic reaction to the anal knife rape and death of Muammar Qaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died,” she cackled. (I just accessed the graphic video of Qaddafi’s torture and murder and felt sick.)

Clinton’s a narcissist, but then so is Trump.

On Everlasting, those who are sent packing see the light disappear when the suitor blows out their candle or they relinquish their diamond bracelet or don’t receive a necklace. Let’s say the Clinton vs. Trump election is this ceremony and each of us is a suitor. I can’t gift a necklace to either one of these poisons.

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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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