You can get a pulse of America by paying attention to the TV shows acceptable for hospital waiting rooms where comfort, tranquility and hope are cultivated among those patients and family waiting for judgment or healing. Based on my recent pre election waiting room experiences there are only 4 acceptable channels:
- Judge Judy
- The Cooking Channel
- Weather Channel
As hopeless as this list sounds, I think we can build on all four.
Judge Judy is the easiest. She has a kind of frontier justice devoid of legal niceties and fancy Latin phrases that gets right down to who is right. She quickly undresses the fakers, the con artists, the family leaches and the liars. She dispenses an incontrovertible homeland justice just like Wyatt Earp and Andy Griffith. As such she recalls our roots in the rule of law and administers justice without regard to political sway. We can all get behind her kind of JUSTICE, right?
HGTV is a marvel. How Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, Love It or List It and Fixer Upper are uniting us is obvious. This country loves to buy homes and loves a deal. The concept of a makeover in life, looks, love or finances is part of the American Dream. I am absolutely smitten by Chip and Joana in Fixer Upper. He is the typical guy; broad shoulders, ex-jock, good with his hands, a problem solver, a little bit insensitive and always there in the pinch for Joana. For her part Joana is hot, creative, problem solving and communicative. She handles the goofy couples who are always making those stupid interior design decisions that are either unaffordable or unbuildable. Together they are awesome. If they are faking their genuine love and affection, then strike me down. Their kids are cool too along with the goats, chickens, dogs and cats. I admire mom and dad as self made entrepreneurs. Most of all I share their values even though the Bible is a little out of print for the PC crowd. They represent Family Values and Entrepreneurship.
The Cooking Channel is my North Star. “Chopped” is simply the best TV Show in America. It takes talented chefs who serve up great food and makes gladiators out of them, especially when they get a bad basket of say rattlesnake, brussel sprouts, fruit loops and seaweed. How someone could turn that into a yummy appetizer just blows my mind. The Chefs don’t mind telling you that they really need the money and want to beat the other chefs. This is not tee ball or all “participants are winners” but instead a pretty cut throat race for the crown and the cash. Sort of like real life and the pursuit of happiness. The quirky judges remind me of real life, too, where you encounter people with complete power over you who are difficult. What is refreshing about the interplay is radishes and rhubarb don’t have political views and can live together in a contestant’s basket. It seems to me the judges put professional palate above all else. There is an objective, higher standard. And they reach consensus despite differences and favorites. The chefs are the governed and the judges are those who govern. They are a metaphor for our REPUBLIC and its system of representative democracy.
Finally, there is The Weather Channel. Who doesn’t like a Cat 5 Hurricane, a Tsunami, a tornado or 12 state ice storm that shuts down the interstate system? This channel is so popular that people in Florida convene for Northern Calamity Cocktails whenever an ice storm cripples the eastern seaboard or the upper Midwest. Without really acknowledging it we are all “channeling” a primal belief in that higher power. As such the weather channel is really our proxy for religion-GOD.
So what unites us is waiting room TV. The reason we like it is pretty much the reasons we love our country and our unique and exceptional experiment in representative democracy. Think about the unconscious waiting room consensus around these core values: JUSTICE, FAMILY VALUES, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, A REPUBLIC, A HIGHER POWER, CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED, PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. Do these shows have an antecedent in anything faintly familiar?
We hold these truths to be self evident- that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
During this holiday season we should remember what unites us and bless this great country that alone among great civilizations is grounded in ascendant, revolutionary principles. Those who tell us otherwise are protecting jobs, careers, status or stock prices. They are not broadcasting in the waiting room of our hearts.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Have A Healthy and Prosperous New Year.
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