In Philadelphia over this past weekend, the political commercials on TV were wall-to-wall. That’s the “reward” (dubiously speaking) one gets for visiting the biggest television market in a swing state just days before an election -- especially one as hotly contested as Pennsylvania.
Since I wasn’t in New York over the weekend, I can only guess the load of political spots on television was somewhat less than the tonnage seen on the Philadelphia stations, since New York state is not considered a swing state on par with the Keystone State.
TV viewers in both markets -- New York and Philadelphia -- are seeing spots for local and state races in these final days, but in Philadelphia, the importance of the region to the two presidential contenders is unmistakable, judging by the frequency of the presidential campaign spots.
On that score, the Clinton campaign appeared to have a distinct edge. All weekend long, the repetition was staggering, particularly with regard to the spot featuring the impressionable kiddies whose innocence has apparently been shattered by the televised utterings of Donald Trump. That’s the message of this spot (from which the image above was made).
This is the one where these children are seen with sad, open-mouthed expressions indicating their shock over what they are hearing Trump say on TV. Footage is then shown of Trump in various TV appearances in which he seems to use the f-word (it’s bleeped), appears to make fun of someone with a handicap, makes the infamous “bleeding” remark about Megyn Kelly, and also says something about shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue (context unshown).
That Trump -- he sure says the darndest things!
The message of the spot is, in part, “Our children are watching.” The point is supposed to be that if the country elects Trump, our childrens’ innocence is at stake. This is presumably because Trump, at least as he is positioned in this spot, is the embodiment of a coarse, rough-edged, profane world we must to do our best to shield America’s children from.
I saw this spot so many times on TV in Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday that naturally I became sick and tired of it. And when one begins to feel that way about a commercial (or TV show or anything, for that matter), you begin to pick it apart.
For openers, I wondered, why were these unsupervised children watching Trump giving speeches in the first place? If they are really so precocious that they watch CNN, Fox News or C-Span regularly enough to catch the most notorious speeches of Donald Trump from the past year-and-a-half, then they should be smart enough to digest what he says and not necessarily conclude that it’s alright for them to say the same things.
Besides, many children have been brought up to recognize right from wrong. Who is to say all kids will be marred somehow by what they hear Donald Trump say?
But the question that occurred to me most often when contemplating this spot was this: Who is she kidding? If Hillary Clinton thinks America’s children can be shielded from the coarser side of life by denying Donald Trump the presidency, then she must live in a dream world.
Does she even live in the same culture as the rest of us? Here in Real World, U.S.A., the coarsening of our culture has already happened, and expands every day. Our entertainment media, whose support Hillary Clinton enjoys, is the source of much of it -- the violence in movies, TV shows and video games (all consumed by children, by the way), sex and misogyny in all of the aforementioned plus the lyrics of pop songs and rap music, and, of course, profanity everywhere.
And then there’s the Internet with all the great wholesome content it has available for the children in the Clinton commercial after they get tired of listening to the speeches of Donald J. Trump.
Trump uttering a bleeped f-word? On what planet is this going to shock an impressionable youngster? Not in 2016 on planet Earth -- especially here in America.