Wednesday, May 12, 2021

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Rants & Reason

Here’s horror to prepare you for Halloween


Here are scary stories to tide you over until neighborhood urchins with Halloween riddles visit you at month’s end.

1. The fate of the world may rest in the hands of Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman, with maybe Terry Branstad in a cameo role. 

Most recognize the characteristics shared by Trump and North Korea’s premier — bizarre hairstyles, nuclear egos, ceaseless lying, etc. To reduce our stress, pundits suggest ways to lessen the threats the two pose: United Nations action, persuasion by China, addressing North Korea’s food needs, toning down U.S. rhetoric or hoping Switzerland can talk sense to KJU because he once studied there.

Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel flagged a bizarre ray of hope: Dennis Rodman.

Huh? Given the nature of Trump and KJU, however, Rodman fits as a negotiator — the one friend they have in common.

Prep Iowa

Talk about any port in a storm — but we may be reduced to the Rodman option given how any aide or potential mediator who reacts with common sense is killed, figuratively by Trump, literally by KJU.

Who’s your money on to save us? If not Rodman, maybe Iowa’s Branstad, the U.S. Ambassador to China. He is pals with both Trump and President Xi Jinping of China, who might have influence on KJU.

Has it come to April Fools or Halloween?

2. Branstad figures in another trick or treat story.

Maybe Iowa politicos can convince national party chieftains that Iowa’s great credentials for choosing presidential candidates at the 2020 caucuses include, “Because we like to be lied to!” After all, Iowans re-rere-re-re-elected Branstad governor because he vowed to bring hundreds of thousands of jobs to Iowa and increase everyone’s income 25 percent. Also, he and his successor assured us and now keep assuring us that their privatization of medical care is a brilliant move, although tens of thousands of families and the suffering disagree. And we applaud when told that cleansing the state’s awful waterways doesn’t require any government monitoring of pollution or
regulations on what people dump into Iowa creeks, rivers and lakes. Voluntary reform by the polluters themselves will solve the problem! That delusion is called “The Iowa way.” Plainly, we’re well prepared to reward dissembling — a press euphemism for lying — candidates for what used to be treasured as the nation’s highest office.

3. Given that Halloween is All Saints Day, maybe you caught this crisis in Christianity: Baylor University — which is “For Church, For Texas” — opened its worship, that is its football season against Liberty U — aka “The World’s Largest Christian University.”

Would the Baylor Bears or the Liberty Flames offer the post-game salute to “Our Lord and Savior who brought us victory?” With so many “Christian” university and high school football teams these days, God has many, many point spreads to cover. Turned out this time it was Liberty, in a miracle-wrought 48-45 win.

Maybe the Divine washed its hands of the whole mess, given how Baptist Baylor has been mired in lawsuits about how the university and its athletic department had all but ignored about 20 rape accusations against athletes. Baylor was forced to get rid of its football coach and its athletic director.

As for evangelist Jerry Falwell’s Liberty U, guess who was hired as athletic director to guide “The World’s Largest Christian University” into the salvation of big-time football? Right! — The bounced Baylor AD, Ian McCaw.

Lightning did not strike McLane Stadium in Waco on game day, but maybe the Divine struck a compromise: Let WLCU win the game; let character building Baylor’s admission applications and enrollment increase — despite the sinful scandals — which they did. Hallelujah!

If any of the above trouble you — let alone former top Trump aide Steve Bannon being on the loose — take heart. This All Saints Day there still are a lot of saints among us. ♦

Herb Strentz is a retired administrator and professor in the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication and writes the monthly Rants and Reason column for CITYVIEW.

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