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On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam Marston wonders if we prefer entertainment to anything of substance and frets over the consequences.

I hope everyone had a nice July Fourth holiday.

On July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted and signed. It has proven to be one of the most influential documents in world history, generating demands for independence and self-rule across the world.

Eleven years later, in 1787, the US Constitution was created and was then ratified about a year later. The energy and enthusiasm and aspirations of these two documents propelled a new nation forward. They’re full of hope and ambition, and the authors of the documents counted on the honor and integrity of this new nation’s leaders to fulfill what those documents stood for. The leaders, the documents, and the mood of our country at the time was hope fueled by the divine.

Let’s contrast that to what we witnessed two Thursday nights ago in the Biden Trump debate. Let’s consider for a moment what’s happened to us. From uplifting prose to child-like name calling. From sage and cogent observations about human nature to incoherent ramblings. From relying on the honor and integrity of leaders to spewing gobs of lies. From working through honest and principled disagreements to an unwillingness to even shake hands.

No one I know likes the candidate they’ll eventually vote for. No one I know thinks their candidate, regardless of their party, is capable or qualified. Everyone I know is voting for their guy to prevent the other guy from destroying the nation. What have we done to deserve this? It’s a serious question. What the hell have we done to deserve this?

I’ve heard many people say, “Is this the best we have to pick from?” but after the debate last week, that question became “This is the best we have to pick from?”. And, I’ll say it again, everyone I know, regardless of who they will eventually vote for, is saying that about their candidate. No one likes their options.

At dinner last Saturday night, a friend mused that he thinks our nation today likes entertainment more than anything that remotely feels like substance. When it comes to politics, we don’t want anyone to tell us the truth. We want to be entertained, so we keep electing politicians that tell us what we want to hear, that entertain us.

Perhaps the debate last week will initiate a turning point. Perhaps now we’ll begin talking about substantive topics. When was the last time a politician even offered an opinion on our nation’s debt or deficit? When was the last time a politician addressed our nation’s addiction to entitlement spending? A trusted economist I interviewed on my radio show last week predicted that around the year 2030, our nation will fall into an economic depression that overshadows the Great Depression of the 1930s and it will largely be driven by deficit spending, national debt, and runaway entitlement spending issues we’ve known about but refuse to acknowledge.

And if he’s right, and as these dark clouds gather, we sit and watch two of the nearly least capable people our nation has ever put forward feebly argue over why they should represent us as president. It’s gut-wrenching, and it’s not entertaining - not at all.

I’m Cam Marston, and I’m just trying to keep it real.

Cam Marston is the Keepin' It Real host for Alabama Public Radio.