Opinion » The Rant

Which is Witch?

Current electoral politics and the Salem witch trials have a lot in common.

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There is a great tradition of fist-shaking on this page. I haven't engaged in that sport too much here. I thought I wanted to be "The Peppy One," but that goes against every fiber of my being because, to quote Toby Ziegler, "There's literally no one in the world I don't hate."

We're now in a full-on, DEFCON 3-level election cycle, and I hate election cycles. I know a lot of y'all nutbags live for it. My mother is one of you people. I can't get into election coverage since Tim Russert left us. It's nothing against Nate Silver or Chuck Todd, mind you. It's that no one can convey the unmitigated joy of a kid on Christmas morning like Tim Russert could on election nights.

Now all I think about when I see reporters standing in front of wall-sized iPads on election night is whether or not they got professional training for that from Vanna White. You put Vanna White in front of CNN's giant wall, and I'd watch the hell out of it. Better yet, get Oprah. YOU GET AN ELECTORAL VOTE AND YOU GET AN ELECTORAL VOTE!

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My other problem is witches. But isn't everyone's? I've started researching my family. I don't know what happens to us as we approach middle age that we need to know that our 10th great-grandfather once slept in a tavern where George Washington slept, but there it is. I like looking at the wacky names. I've found an Experience, Shubael, Jephthah, and my favorite, an uncle named Snowy Drift. It turns out that my ninth great-grandfather and grandmother and their children were charged with witchcraft in Salem. He confessed, knowing that other people who had confessed hadn't been executed. He recanted and apparently was hanged for lying. Talk about a swing and a miss.

I was looking at a sketch of where these people lived. They were piled on top of each other. Everything was so tiny and close. It's no wonder gossip and syphilis spread quickly. Add to that property disputes, poor sanitation, and old-fashioned ignorance, it's no surprise witchcraft charges infected the population like measles.

We're not — in general — piled on top of each other like our ancestors were, but we're still disgusting, snotty, leaky, social creatures like they were. And while we have Twitter to tell us that there's some dude in Scranton who just had the best fish taco like ever, they had a community well to gather around to find out that Keziah and Mercy's son might actually be Amos and Mercy's.

In our time, when one mother is desperately trying to find a reason her child has autism and comes across an article saying vaccinating your child is the fiendish cause of everything from autism to scabies, and you shouldn't trust the chemicals the government is pumping into our bodies, and THEY don't want you to know the truth, word spreads through Facebook, and Instagram, and whatever app these crazy kids are using this week. It spreads just like the whooping cough she isn't preventing her child from getting because natural immunity or something. It's really no different than Patience eating a certain mold on bread with effects similar to an acid trip, and since no one knows about bacteria or acid trips, the logical conclusion is she made a pact with Satan.

The problem is we do know about acid trips and germs now, but yet we have candidates for national offices who love arguing against science and reason because they think the definition of a scientific theory is the same as when Uncle Elmer tells you he's got a theory about how Bigfoot is actually a CIA agent who's really good at his job, and that's why he'll never be found.

I rid myself of the Republicans in 2005, when Jeb Bush and his merry pranksters intervened by writing one state law, a federal relief bill, and spending untold amounts of money in court costs to cause a seven-year delay to remove the feeding tube of Terri Shiavo, who had tragically suffered major brain damage and was in a persistent vegetative state. It did not matter one whit what their opinion was. Republicans are not supposed to meddle in family decisions. Period.

I rid myself of the Democrats when their platform became one giant plank made from their fear of Republicans. Good God, Lemon. Stand for something. But in honesty, I appreciated Hillary's reenactment of a decade's worth of Ross and Rachel's will-they-or-won't-they seek the nomination.

I am absolutely bone-tired of dumb politicians. Call me crazy, but I kind of want the person with his or her finger on The Button to be smarter than I am. That's not even setting the bar real high. I'd be happy if they knew Marcus Aurelius isn't a question.

Susan Wilson also writes for yeahandanotherthing.com. She and her husband, Chuck, have lived here long enough to know that Midtown does not start at Highland.

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