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OPINION | BRUCE PLOPPER: Election lingers, as do other ills

Almost over by Bruce Plopper Special to the Democrat-Gazette | November 14, 2022 at 4:13 a.m.


"What a dump."

The 2022 midterm election losers and their supporters may wish to condemn the United States with this infamous Bette Davis quote from her 1949 movie "Beyond the Forest." In that film, Davis was referring to the fictional dwelling she and co-star Joseph Cotten shared, but many real-life humans may feel the same way about their surroundings now that at least most of the votes have been counted.

First, thinking locally, none of the proposed amendments to the Arkansas Constitution were approved, and Democrats once again failed to elect even one of their state constitutional officer candidates. Clearly, these combined results have the potential to generate much angst.

Second, looking at the national picture, disheartened Democrats and Republicans saw on the day after the election that neither party could claim control of either the Senate or the House of Representatives. A December runoff election in the Georgia Senate race will stoke consternation about Senate control for nearly another month. And any final outcome for the House of Representatives is surely to dismay a huge number of voters.

Come early January, when the newly elected federal winners take office, the balance of power in Congress will not be the only cause for citizen concern. Indeed, the ongoing bigotry against African Americans and Jews still will be evident, as it was in late October immediately after Elon Musk bought Twitter, which for some reason prompted anonymous tweeters to fill the Twitter universe with racist tweets.

Also in late October, widespread reports of local scholastic achievement scores showed significant declines in three of four categories tested, as compared with scores from 2019. Adding to the dismay were results showing Arkansas scores in math and reading remained behind declining national averages.

As if electoral, sociological and educational concerns weren't enough to further upset the disenchanted, continuing bad news on the economic and environmental fronts was recently added to the mix.

While the Federal Reserve's two-year battle against inflation continued, the online Consumer Price Index inflation calculator of the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed in October that the inflation rate from September 2020 to September 2022 was 14 percent. That's very "ouch-worthy" for the average person's budget.

But wait ... there's more, as is often said in TV commercials. If one wanted to escape all the election outcomes and other current statistical downsides by taking a relaxing Pacific Ocean cruise, one might run into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

In an update from The Ocean Cleanup website on Sept. 1, 2022, the nonprofit organization's lead ocean field scientist reported, "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is the largest of the five offshore plastic accumulation zones in the world's oceans. It is located halfway between Hawaii and California." The website also notes that the GPGP is about three times the size of France.

Wouldn't it be fun to get caught in that cruising nightmare? If it did so happen, at least it would be appropriate to mutter, "What a dump."


Bruce Plopper is a journalism professor emeritus in the UALR School of Mass Communication.


Print Headline: Almost over

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