At 61 years old, I’m moth eaten enough to remember not just John F. Kennedy’s assassination, but his election to the presidency. Which means that since a tender age I’ve been subjected to more than a half century of the fanfaronade, buffoonery, and deceit that every four years makes this great republic look like a cross between Animal House and The Manchurian Candidate as the hoi polloi, exercising their sacred constitutional right to vote, decide who will be the most powerful person in the world.
Death is a bummer, yes, but mostly for those who are alive.
I remember, for instance, Lyndon Johnson’s infamous Daisy ad, which, with powerful graphics all but assured Americans that we’d be nuked by the Bolsheviks if we elected his GOP opponent, Barry Goldwater, as president.
About 12 years later, I howled with laughter along with a bunch of other Florida Gators in a local Ratskeller when the thirty-eighth president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford Jr., declared during a presidential debate that “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe”—in 1976!
And who can forget Michael Dukakis’ MI-A-I battle tank ride into electoral oblivion, Al Gore’s (2000) invention of the Internet, and the Howard Dean Scream of 2004?
Nothing, though, compared to the shtick we endured during the 2016 presidential campaign. Even I—someone whose mitochondria can get overclocked by presidential politics—just wanted it over.
Amid the hoopla over Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and Donald Trumps’ tax returns, however, you might have missed the candidacy of Zoltan Istvan, who traveled around the country in a vehicle shaped like a coffin, dubbed the “Immortality Bus.” In the mother of all campaign promises (one that made Bernie Sander’s desire for universal health care seem trite) candidate Istvan declared that if elected president, he would allocate funds for science and technology to help us “overcome death.”