Once upon a time a president colluded, conspired and perverted the course of justice regarding his and his loyal – and not so – accomplices illegal activities to get dirt on political opponents. Not only that, he secretly negotiated with a hostile foreign government to swing an election in his favor.

Back then we had just come off an era of assassinations and deadly city-destroying riots. McCarthyism – a true witch hunt – had burned out, but the cold war had not, and American soldiers were still being killed everyday in a foolish unwinnable war. But overall, if you were an indifferent – and deferred – straight white  male, life was pretty good.

This was almost half a century ago, so most of you don’t remember any of it.

The seven presidents following “Tricky Dick,” as he was then known, were “normal” politicians. Some were smart, some were not. Some were mean, some were less so. But they followed political norms. This is no longer the case.

So whats different these days? Today, we have an infestation of abnormal politicians who do not follow norms and the so-called normal politicians don’t know what to do about this. So rather than working together to fix this real problem, they are doing the normal D.C. stuff: grab advantage whenever they can – each against all – and do what they gotta do to get reelected.

Then there’s the free press. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that back then newspapers were like Superman’s Daily Planet which was all about “Truth, Justice and the American Way,” Even back then it was only about “…the American Way,” i.e. making money.

What was different about journalism back then was that each newspaper had a local monopoly on advertising and made its millions there. Whatever the newsroom came up with to fill the space above the ads was of no interest to the owners unless they displeased a local advertiser. TV was a bit different, but the money making side, the entertainment shows, was so lucrative that what was said by the 6 o’clock presenters didn’t matter to the bosses either.

Also, these were truly mass media markets; everyone every where got the same shows and stories. This, too, is no longer the case, technology now allows custom, nearly individual, marketing of adver-info-tainment (the “news” is sadly mixed in with all this) and this same tech allows hyper-granular data mining and subsequent laser-focused monetization of every story and ever reader. Your clicks are their cash. And each message – and each reader – is massaged to get the most clicks.

So welcome to the parade. Enjoy the spectacle of the hoi poloi mesmerized by the inflated cartoon characters bobbing down main street. Look at different strategies of our political parties. The GOP steals the proles wallets. They rob the poor to pay the rich. While the Dems beg for spare change. Good luck with that as there’s not much charity among the recently fleeced. And the now ethics-free press hawking its wares, bags of nuts no less.

By the way, Tricky Dick resigned.