Hillary’s ‘UFO card’ may be safe political topic for all

Published 12:36 am Saturday, May 28, 2016

“Uh-oh. Hillary plays UFO card.”

It was the tongue-in-cheek text from a friend who has decided the only appropriate response to this year’s presidential primaries is to consider its sheer entertainment value. He is certain the GOP can’t emerge from November without splintering, and that the Democratic frontrunner – prepared though she may be – is on a downward spiral.

That the possibility there are UFOs out there would be a political issue for a country with plenty of issues is almost beyond belief. But it might be one of the few safe topics for casual political conversation.

I was thinking about that as I listened to the scandal of the day Friday in the 2016 political race. One day, it’s another report on Clinton’s private email server; the next a made-up comment from Trump. Trump’s experience with generating free publicity may be changing the process in the same way that social media did for the Obama campaign in 2008. But it seems to me the sides are more polarized than ever, and people pretty much only talk with those who share their views.

For instance, it is certainly no secret that my husband supports Bernie Sanders. Mr. Honey came of age in the 1960s, and jokes that “my mama wouldn’t let me be a hippy.” He later served in Vietnam, so he has a perspective on war that many of us are fortunate enough not to have experienced.

He believes in Sanders’ message, and he has been willing to stand up and say so in a place that doesn’t agree with him.

And he’s shared hundreds if not thousands of posts on social media. We joke about it. But Friday, I finally figured it out: He’s voicing his opinion there because no one will talk politics with him.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a bumper sticker, and certainly not a political one. My views are far more centrist than Mr. Honey’s, so I supported Ohio’s Kasich in the primary. “We need a moderate” is my mantra.

On a recent Saturday, my brothers, who typically argue with him for sport, refused to take the political bait. Trump supporters, it appears.

My father? Well, he’s not talking.

There will be political scientists who write textbooks about why our current culture became so polarized, and why two unconventional candidates have done so well this year in what some have dubbed “the year of the outsider.”

Meanwhile, talk of the ultimate outsides – aliens – is good for a bit of buzz, whether it got the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state and votes or not.

“There are enough stories out there that I don’t think everybody is just sitting in their kitchen, making them up,” Clinton said in a radio interview in April. When Jimmy Kimmel reminded Clinton that her husband, Bill, had looked for information while president and found nothing, she was defiant.

“Well, I’m gonna do it again,” Clinton said.

So UFOs can make for interesting coffee or cocktail conversations, and save us from what could become nasty arguments.

Or, as a plaque in my office says, “A wise man once said nothing.”


Michele Gerlach is publisher of The Star-News.