The late great Lewis Grizzard used to talk about having been held prisoner of war in Chicago for two years, while working at the Chicago Sun-Times. It was then that he famously penned the line, “Chicago has two seasons, winter and the Fourth of July.”
I have served four days of a five-day sentence in Chicago this year, but they let me split it into two trips. Trust me, once you’ve been to the top of the Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears), ridden the Ferris wheel down at the Navy Pier, caught a Cubs game at Wrigley field, had deep dish pizza and been insulted by three or four minimum wage workers at a ritzy downtown hotel, you ‘bout done seen Chicago.
Or you could just stay home and read a Carl Sandburg poem and save a lot of money.
Now I told you all of that to tell you this.
Thursday night I was on short time in Chicago. I didn’t want to wander down to the south side for fear that the weekend shooting gallery was opening early. Besides, Barry and Michelle weren’t home, or if they were, they weren’t returning my calls — so I found myself in my hotel room scanning the television channels.
I was wearing out my thumb on that remote control. I came across the Democrat Party Presidential Debate. Curiosity not only killed the cat, it got the best of me Thursday night, too. I decided to watch and form an opinion. “If I chose to vote in the Democrat Primary,” I asked myself, “which one of these candidates would you support?”
Self said to me, “Are you crazy?”
I said, “No, self. Humor me. Just play along.”
It was a melee. It was really, really sad watching these 10 people, all of whom want to lead our nation, sidestep almost any mention of why said person would make the best president to drag one another through the mud — before finally realizing that the true enemy of America is Donald Trump and taking cheap potshots at him by tossing out dozens of untrue generalizations and many outright lies. It was almost bad as the 2016 Republican debates.
It is obvious that Uncle Joe Biden is the front-runner on the Democrat side because he received most of the heavy fire from the other candidates.
Julian Castro — no relation (or maybe there is) — seemed to get the ball rolling with his attacks on the former vice-president’s age, constantly reminding Biden, “You can’t remember what you said two minutes ago!”
Come on Julian. Who can? Then Castro and others tried to play the never-ending game, “I’m more Obama-ish than you,” which proved a bit problematic because to attack Biden’s record they had to attack Obama’s legacy and to “stand with Obama’s vision,” as many of the Democrat candidates seemed determined to do, they had to somehow approve of Biden, who was there for the whole show.
It was great theater.
A few other great moments. Andrew Yang, not to be confused with Atlanta statesman, Andrew Young, said, “I’m Asian, so I know quite a few doctors.” Words from his own mouth. That’s a great qualification for knowing about health care. Being Asian. Yang said it. Huckaby did not.
Joe Biden’s solution for improving education among students from less affluent areas. “Leave the TV on and play records at night. Those kids hear less words.”
Vinyl is the solution. Play those records. Don’t encourage conversation and reading to kids. Just play those records — if you can find any.
Kamela Harris, on Trump, “He reminds me of that guy in the Wizard of Oz. When you pull back the curtain he’s a real small dude, right?”
George Stephanopoulos, whose question she was answering did not seem amused. George is 5 feet, 5 inches tall.
And on and on and on it went. There were no real solutions offered for any problems — and I am serious. I listened for solutions. Or one solution.
The candidates sniped at one another, at the president and talked about giving away free stuff — from health care to food to college ad nauseum. Y’all, nothing is free. Somebody has to pay for everything.
I turned off the set, finally, secure in one belief. No matter which Democrat wins the party’s nomination, the country will be in good hands for four more years. Those hands will belong to Donald Trump.