Skittle or Tic-Tac

October 20, 2016

A few weeks ago the candy — or breath mint — of the day was Skittles. Although I'm pretty sure he didn't want to “taste the rainbow” as the famous ad for the addictive candy commanded, I'd guess Donald Trump was interested in popping his fair share of Tic-Tacs after listening to Billy Bush audio leaks. I guess the next scandal could involve Juicy Fruit chewing gum, something I'm sure the similarly branded Victoria's Secret would benefit from. 


But as long as it doesn't involve vaping, inhaling (any one remember that from 1992?) and especially cigars, I think we can handle it. There is so much to unpack in all this, I'm not sure where to beg in. I think I need to pop a Mentos and contemplate it further. Don't worry, I'm not using Mentos as some analogy representing victims of war, severe weather victims, or any other tragedy despite the fact that Mentos, in addition to getting you noticed, will turn into a dangerous geyser if placed into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke. 


And no, I certainly wouldn't use the excuse of having fresh breath to just grab a woman by the “wherever” to suit my needs. I am not sure we've entered into the “always required to have verbal consent or it's automatically sexual assault” era yet, but it's getting closer, and abusive talk like that from leaders made public doesn't help. I’m not sure society would be healthier putting lawyers in charge of every normal human interaction, but that's a debate for people far more self-righteous than myself and it suits better in platforms like The Huffington Post. 


OK, that’s too many brand names already, but I swear I'm not getting kickbacks for product placements. Now, in case you missed it, Donald Trump Jr. (soon to be named “The Junior,” perhaps?) tweeted an analogy comparing the risks of taking thousands of Syrian refugees to eating from a bowl of Skittles than may contain just a few poisoned Skittles among them. Would you eat from that bowl? The poisoned skittles supposedly represented the poisoned intentions of terrorists of ISIS or other jihadi groups that have infiltrated into the ranks of the Syrian refugees we are about to eat — I mean, accept into our country. In our hyper-partisan political atmosphere, Trump  Jr. was immediately attacked and mocked for comparing people to pieces of poisoned candy. In fact, some went too far as to show a recent Syrian boy from Allepo (that's the largest city in Syria, which is under siege from Assad’s and Russia’s forces for those Gary Johnson types) covered in debris and claim that he was being called a piece of candy. While I'm sure some people were genuinely offended, I think a lot of what we saw was simple political posturing,“gotcha politics” in an attempt to gain on one of Trump vulnerable areas. It certainly doesn't help that Trump has said emotional, rash and generally dumb comments with regard to Middle East policy and Muslim immigration at the campaign trail. (A total and complete ban? Come on, that's just asking to be skewered. I guess “Nuance” isn’t Trump’s middle name.) 


But still, it was an analogy, not a direct comparison. That's part of how dumbed down our discussions have become in angling for that middle 10 percent. Anything that remotely could melt the most delicate snowflake suddenly becomes a main talking point. And if it fits our narrative, then we pretend to forget that the whole point of analogies is to isolate a single characteristic of the subject to clarify an argument. Analogies aren't used in making a sweeping generalization about the subject, otherwise you wouldn't use candy. I think I learned that in 5th grade, but since Marissa Mayer has taken over Yahoo, the news section in at least that sliver of the Internet has lost a few grade levels of reading comprehension. So I guess it's a good thing she is being sent back to summer school with a multi-million dollar golden parachute just like the disgraced CEO of Wells Fargo. I guess it really would be nice to be part of the true elites. Don't think that for a nanosecond that one of us sitting across from each other totally disagreeing would be treating with anywhere near the privilege the true elites would receive Whether you're part of an oppressed minority, a misunderstood religion, a potential super-predator, or a deplorable, you are in a different basket than the Trump or Clinton allies or the fat cats on Wall Street. I think that is real lesson here.


(Joseph Meyers is a resident of Tamuning. Send feedback to

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