Opinion Outpost Oct. 11


Obama’s last four months

Only amid the most bizarre, most tawdry, most addictive election campaign in memory could the real story of 2016 be so effectively obliterated, namely, that with just four months left in the Obama presidency, its two central pillars are collapsing before our eyes: domestically, its radical reform of American health care, a.k.a. Obamacare; and abroad, its radical reorientation of American foreign policy — disengagement marked by diplomacy and multilateralism.

Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post

Let’s talk about America

In presidential debate season, inevitably one of the candidates will ask for a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. This is commonly misunderstood as two candidates slugging it out without time limits or interruptions or moderators.

But of course, the Lincoln-Douglas debates were nothing like that.

The format for what were called the Great Debates of 1858 was one that very few voters and zero TV networks could tolerate today. One candidate spoke for 60 minutes uninterrupted, then the other took charge of the podium for 90 minutes; finally, the first candidate was allowed back for a 30-minute rejoinder.

On Election Day, the voters of Illinois chose state legislators who reelected Douglas to the Senate in January 1859.

But while Lincoln lost the Senate, he gained a national following. Having established himself as a rising star in the new Republican Party, he won its nomination for president in 1860. And he did it without Twitter.

Lincoln carried 18 states and won the White House with 180 electoral votes. As he was sworn in, Douglas was at his side, holding the new president’s hat.

It was a much smaller — and kinder — country back then.

Dan Payne
Herald Times Reporter

Clowns: Creepy or cute?

I’ve been a clown for almost 50 years. Not a creepy one, not even a circus one. Nor a guy standing on the corner inviting customers to enter a store. I perform at children’s parties, school shows, library programs, corporate events, festivals and fairs. As far as I know, the only person who thinks I’m creepy is my brother-in-law; he owes me money.

There are people who don clown costumes and suddenly go power mad. The outfit seems to give them license to cut loose. Most of these folks are amateurs who believe their exaggerated behavior is hysterically funny. They should be arrested for attempted impersonation of a clown.

… As far as I’m concerned, most are well-meaning and fun to watch. One or two may be creepy.

But, then again, there are creeps of all kinds roving the world. Some are dressed in business suits. Some in uniform. Or in the traditional polka dots and silly hair. Lately, I’ve seen a lot of silly hair on television.

Charles Kraus
The Baltimore Sun

The year is 2016 and the internet-perpetuated stories of killer clowns stalking through cities will have permeated nearly every city in America by mid-October.

We’re almost at peak clowns, I promise. But it’s a different story for teens. The trend has become a way for them to test the boundaries of speech online by perpetuating the nationwide hoax through social media posts … and, boy, are they learning. …

Regardless, it’s important for students to know what can and can’t be said online. Though the wild-west nature of many corners of the web gives the appearance that nothing is off limits, talking about boundaries online is a relatively novel conversation parents should be having with their kids. The stakes are higher for them than they may realize.

Dom DiFurio
Dallas News

Police, school officials, parents and individuals have three words that say it all: Knock it off. Even Stephen King, the master of macabre horror whose nightmarish clown “Pennywise” terrorized children in his book and the TV miniseries “It,” tweeted that it’s time to “cool the clown hysteria.” We certainly hope people are listening, because this is becoming dangerous.

New Haven Register

What some in the media have idiotically coined a “national clown panic” is largely an asinine replicating hoax, three-quarters teenage foolishness and one-quarter frat-house prank. It’s hard to tell whether police department BOLOs for “suspicious clown activity” are serious or not: What kind of clown activity is routine?

The terrifying clown … have gradually restored the “dark clown” to forefront of American popular culture.

Combine that creepiness with ready gullibility and social media contagion (planking, eating cinnamon, frozen chook) and you get the Great Clown Panic of 2016.

Friends, we have bigger, scarier things to worry about than clowns. Don’t make me have to remind you what they are.

Jacquielynn Floyd
Dallas News

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