The endless presidential campaign has inflicted two years of ugliness, vapidity and sheer lunacy upon the American populace. With days to go the press coverage gets even sicker. Picture this. A bedridden John McCain, imprisoned by the North Vietnamese after being shot down in 1967, is interviewed by a French journalist. He describes parachuting into a lake near Hanoi after his jet was downed by anti-aircraft file. Fished out, he was taken to a hospital where he almost died. On the mend but nearly immobilized due to his wounds his lips tremble with emotion as he addresses his wife assuring her that he will get well and that he loves her. And then the video moves into X rating territory. We’ll let the reporter explain why:

"The video portrays the Republican as a hero but the message may be tarnished as he is filmed smoking a cigarette."

The sleazy reprobate! How could he send the pernicious message the smoking is okay? How dare he mislead the youth that smoking is something adults do for relief and for pleasure? Why wasn’t the evil cigarette scrubbed from the video?

The phony outrage over smoking expressed by the press has been bipartisan, however, as McCain’s opponent, Barack Obama, has also been hammered over his love of cigarettes. Both men have asked for the abuse because both adhere to the doctrinaire view that enjoying tobacco is a hideous sin.

Obama claims to have quit smoking, although recently he confessed that he still bums a smoke now and then. His abashed apology places him in the category of shamed schoolboy caught smoking in the lavatory.

McCain, of course, conducted a Salem witch trial of the tobacco industry in the late 1990’s in which he sought to stifle free speech and impose a huge tax on the nation’s smokers.

Both candidates could perform a vital public service by denouncing the Stalinism and frauds of the anti-tobacco movement. To do so would indeed take great courage – and courage, these days, is sadly lacking in a country that cowers before the feet of Public Health.

They both should be proud of their smoking habit and display it in public, instead of giving in to bigotry, ignorance and sheer superstition promoted by dishonest authorities. They would also get a few more million votes, as they represent – whether they like it or not – millions of tax-paying smoking citizens. A decision between two cowardly individuals is a difficult one – and perhaps it would be better to stay home smoking cigarettes instead of wasting time at the poll, since none represents the interests of over 60 million smoking American voters.



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