The Capitalist Adults Are in the Room

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

Commercials are the State of the Union

Two Sunday mornings ago, sitting in an apartment equipped with cable television, I happened upon a CNN broadcast called “State of the Union,” hosted by the perpetual scowler Jake Tapper.

I figured I’d better look at a show with such a solemn and important title.

The federal government had only been open for less than 48 hours after its record-setting five-week shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers were waiting for back pay after weeks of scrambling to meet basic expenses.

The FBI had just engaged in a high-profile military-style raid on the home of a top Donald Trump associate and adviser, Roger Stone.

Washington was leading an international effort to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela.

Meteorologists were predicting a record deep-freeze across the upper Midwest.

There was a lot going on in “the Union.” I decided to watch.

I caught a glance of Tapper’s frowning face as CNN moved into a long line of commercials, almost all of which were for pharmaceutical products catering to Baby Boomers. Drugs with strange-sounding three-syllable names and daunting side-effects including death.

I put the volume up and left the room to attend to wash some dishes.

“State of the Union” returned.  I could hear U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) telling Tapper that government shut-downs don’t provide Republicans “good leverage.”

Reflecting that Rubio was leading…

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