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LAGNIAPPE: John Oliver and the Tuesday Elections

Most Saturdays, I post the latest John Oliver Last Week Tonight video essay in the weekly Interesting Stuff column.

Because his program airs on HBO on Sunday nights, my followup is necessarily seven days late and in some cases, like this one when he is discussing an event only two days hence, the subject can suffer from the time lag – as this one would if I waited.

This is exactly the kind of situation the Lagniappe column was invented for.

So in today's Lagniappe, here is Oliver's essay from last Sunday. It is about the elections held around the United States two days ago and here is what you should keep in mind as you watch the video:

The trucker Robert Gray lost his bid to become governor of Mississippi.

Republican Matt Bevin was elected governor of Kentucky.

Dick Black was elected to the state senate of Virginia.

God help the United States of America if this is a harbinger of the national election that will be held exactly one year from next Sunday.


Why we keep electing them is beyond me.

Terribly discouraging. People keep shooting themselves in the foot. Lack of education?

By and large, Democrats are too lazy to get off their asses and vote if the election is not for President. It's one excuse after another; then they have the nerve to complain about how bad things are in this country. I truly don't get the disconnect in their thinking.

John Oliver is brilliant! Particularly loved the whole piece on the Kentucky gubernatorial candidate who owned the bell factory. Beautifully executed. I wish that he had more viewers or more influence or something because so few people take the time to try and find out what is really going on and the major hypocrisy that runs rampant in government.

We need to get the big money out of politics. Too bad the people who would vote on that are the ones taking the money.

I am getting so depressed by the right wing turn this country is taking. It isn't just the stupidity of the voters, it's the intrusion of religion into our politics and the obscene amount of money buying our country.

I have lived through the worst of modern times (The Great Depression followed by WWII.) And I have lived through the best of times (the passage of good legislation like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid), and other legislation that has made the lives of the citizens better. Then there was Civil Rights, the war on poverty, gay rights and other improvements that made us the envy of the world.

Now we are rapidly sliding down into a time when it is all going to hell. We are becoming an Oligarchy and the gullible loons vote on issues that don't even impact their lives while aiding and abetting the power structure into the takeover of our country.

We have a few people crying in the wilderness like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but the media downplay them and try (and succeed ) in convincing the populous that they can't win so don't waste your time listening to them.

I just want to weep.

What Darlene said. I want to weep, too. How people continue to vote AGAINST their own best interest I can not understand.

Darlene and Fritzy D., I SO agree with you! I have to believe that low-information voters just don't get it. In that case the rest of us better hope that there will be enough sane adults in the room to turn things around over the next 10-20 years. I likely won't be here to see it, but if the current trend continues, the end game may be a 2nd Civil War--and we're still experiencing fallout from the 1st.

I will never cease to be amazed at the Repub "small government" types who turn to the government for help in a New York minute as soon as something bad happens to THEM. On the other hand, I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the bell factory owner/newly anointed Kentucky governor. Hypocrisy is almost never a problem in right wing Repub circles!

They vote against their own best interests because if its not about the latest scandal in sports or in the music world, they pay no attention and only vote for whoever rants the loudest or promises them the most. Intelligence doesn't enter into it.

Those election results are really depressing. I have an American online friend who says things like, "I'm tired of liberals here, gawd." His reasons?

"The Democrats as a whole are forever portraying business owners and rich people as being villains and that really does bother me. Having my own business for many years really brought that into perspective. The more I would make, the more I would be taxed. That would not be a problem if it was a fair distribution of tax, but the more I made the higher the percentage of tax I would pay. So when I worked longer hours, and I put in around 80 a week as it was, my income averaged out to what I would get making minimum wage for someone else.

"Why should someone who works hard, and I will dare to say smart, brings customers from outside the area to do business in the local customers would buy gas at the gas station when they brought pieces in and would get food at the local shops and such...why should they be taxed more than anyone else who works at a different job?"

He believes in a flat tax of 10%. He believes that a large number of those on welfare are lazy people who could work and simply don't want to. He believes Democrats have created a class of government-supported idlers amongst "minoritys, blacks and latinos..and with white 'trailer trash'," deliberately, in order to breed more voters to support them.

He votes Republican. Yet he is disabled, depressed, in constant pain, hasn't been able to work for two years, gets $200 a month in SNAP benefits for himself and his son that can only be spent on food.

I don't know what to say to him. We talk about art, and games, and music, and since we discovered how much we disagree on politics, we carefully avoid the minefields.

I feel sad about this. People like him who have been duped into believing this sort of rubbish, completely against their own best interests, are exactly what is wrong with the USA. There are so many of them! Yet, what can I say? "You have been systematically lied to"? "You've fallen for a wicked, nation-wide con game"??? He's not going to abandon everything he has come to believe over his whole lifetime. He doesn't KNOW that he has been manipulated. To him, these positions seem self-evidently true. If challenged, he can produce plenty of anecdotal confirmation... whether it's from Fox News, or a niece who ran up against a city bureaucracy, or a friend of a neigbour's cousin.

And, when you come right down to it, I'm not American. I'm only an onlooker, a kibitzer. Why would he even listen to me?

OH Darlene, Fritzy and Elisabeth..I so agree too. It's really scary what is happening and the tide is turning to the right, the far right actually. It breeds racism, persecution, greed, exclusion and just plain meanness. And let's not forget religious fundamentalism and where that can take us down the road to the dark ages. This is when I'm glad I'm old and what appeared to be a promising future for our country and all of its citizens is now being eroded by lack of education and more concern for what the Kardashians are up to or the latest Facebook posting.

Sylvia--I, too, unfortunately know people like your friend.

At their house---FOX news is on ALL the time.
So I blame the constant repetition of emotions and thoughts they are exposed to 24 hours a day for their beliefs

which they think they have researched and documented through FOX.

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