Martin Schram: A Marxist revelation along the Rio Grande

Martin Schram, Tribune News Service on

Published in Op Eds

Luckily, the next time a pollster calls to ask about our dueling, aged presidents, we can start by recalling what we just saw with our own eyes – and heard with our own ears.

We were gifted with a remarkable split-screen poli-sci lesson that made us instantly wiser, on Leap Year Day.

And all of us who truly want to make America great again in 2024 have just been reminded that we can all make use of a most helpful tool of political punditry that can help us detect and deflect the fake news deceptions that threaten our democracy.

It’s a tool of political detection that was derived from a bit of Marxist wisdom that was contributed to us 91 years ago. I’m referring, of course, to that political insight that was gifted to us by the Marx Brothers – Groucho, Chico and Harpo. In their classic 1933 film of sight gags and satire, “Duck Soup,” Chico had disguised himself as Groucho, complete with a greasepaint black mustache, to court Margaret Dumont. But his effort to deceive the ever-gullible woman of means was hampered by the fact that she had just seen the real Groucho leave her bedroom through a door on her right – when Chico walked in from the left. But when she protests that she has just seen the real Groucho leave “with my own eyes,” Chico comes up with his classic retort:

“Well, who are you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

So here we are, trapped in today’s era when pols think they can con us with blatant lies and fake news deceptions. But luckily, on the quadrennial 29th day of February, the gods of real news split our news screens with dueling news events that let us compare, with our own eyes and ears, real-deal events starring our two aged presidents – the incumbent President Joe Biden, and the ex-president Donald Trump.

We saw and heard our two elderly front-runners for president visiting two Texas border sites 300 miles apart – at Brownsville and Eagle Pass. But this wasn’t about old men forgetting or fumbling. This was about who can best lead us to greater days – without selfishly endangering us for the sake of their personal goals.

We saw and heard it all. It wasn’t even a close call.

We saw and heard the Candidate in Eagle Pass – warning us about the peril posed by illegals who cross our borders: “They’re coming from jails, and they’re coming from prisons, and they’re coming from mental institutions. And they’re coming from insane asylums, and they’re terrorists. They’re being let into our country.”

We saw and heard the Candidate in Brownsville – fighting to halt that very peril, trying to unite us all to enact that strongest-ever bipartisan enforcement bill that just stalled in Congress:


“It’s the toughest set of border security reforms we’ve ever seen in this country. With this deal, we could hire 1,500 additional border security agents (and deploy additional officers) …between ports of entry.”

Time out: We also know that the Candidate in Eagle Pass – that’s Trump – had just rejected the strong pleas of the Customs and Border police chief and police union and told his Republican congressional leaders to kill the bill. He hopes to keep the danger going until Election Day. He thinks it will help him win.

We also saw and heard the Candidate in Eagle Pass use his opponent’s name as his negative political attack-weapon:

“The United States is being overrun by the (he said his opponent’s name) migrant crime. It’s a new form of vicious violation to our country. It’s migrant crime. We call it (he said his opponent’s name again) migrant crime.”

But we also saw and heard the Candidate in Brownsville – that’s Biden – mention his opponent’s name. But unlike Trump, Biden did it in a unifying, patriotic and leader-like way:

“I understand my predecessor is in Eagle Pass today. Here’s what I would say to Mr. Trump: Instead of playing politics with this issue, instead of telling members of Congress to block this legislation, join me — or I’ll join you — in telling the Congress to pass this bipartisan border security bill. We can do it together. You know and I know it’s the toughest, most efficient, most effective border security bill this country has ever seen. So instead of playing politics with this issue, why don’t we just get together and get it done.”

So, there it was – a true Marxist revelation, live and in split-screen, on the banks of the Rio Grande. And all of us who want to make America great again had better start by believing our own eyes and ears.


©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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