Clio, the Greek Muse of history, may not have much of a sense of humor (tragedy’s more her speed), but boy, her irony spell is getting a real workout nowadays.

In classical mythology, the Muses are nine daughters of Zeus who give inspiration to creative people and enterprises.

And Clio’s current ironic accomplishments, all firsts in American history, are these:

First, she has raised up as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee a person who says whatever he happens to be thinking at the moment. Oddly, this is regarded as a virtue by his supporters.

Second, she has given us a person who thinks that her gender is a qualification for office.

While Hillary Clinton may become the first woman to gain a major party’s nod as its candidate, her real “first” is to be the first target of an FBI investigation to aspire to that status. (Unless the investigation precludes it before the Democratic convention in July.)

Third, Clio has given us a remarkably popular major-party presidential candidate who is an avowed socialist – while simultaneously giving us a socialist-run country in our own hemisphere that is at the inevitable end stage of left-wing policies.

You’d think Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters (and Clinton supporters who lean his way and want her to, too) would ponder what’s happening in Venezuela right now, but there’s no sign of it.

Though there is some wry amusement in all this for the rest of us, it’s still not a good thing that so many people are blind to Clio’s lessons.

Particularly since they’re so obvious. The late British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, is reported to have said: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money” – and Venezuela has.

Its descent into deprivation was begun under the now-deceased strongman Hugo Chavez, and his disciple Nicolas Maduro currently misrules in his stead. Some recent headlines about their legacy:

“Venezuela drifts into new territory: Hunger, blackouts and government shutdown,” The New York Times, May 28. Quote: “This country has long been accustomed to painful shortages, even of basic foods. But Venezuela keeps drifting further into uncharted territory. … Electricity and water are being rationed, and huge areas of the country have spent months with little of either.”

” ‘We want food!’, Venezuelans cry at protest near presidency,” Reuters, June 3. Quote: “Despite their country having the world’s biggest oil reserves, Venezuelans are suffering severe shortages of consumer goods ranging from milk to flour, soaring prices and a shrinking economy. … Critics say Venezuela’s economic chaos is the consequence of failed socialist policies for the last 17 years, especially price and currency controls.”

“Dying infants and no medicine: Inside Venezuela’s failing hospitals,” The New York Times, May 15. Quote: ” ‘The death of a baby is our daily bread,’ said Dr. Osleidy Camejo, a surgeon in the nation’s capital, Caracas, referring to the toll from Venezuela’s collapsing hospitals.”

“Venezuela’s crisis is the latest example of why socialism doesn’t work,” The Daily Signal website, June 3. Quote: “Even the most basic services and products are becoming inaccessible as a result of cronyism, interventionism and a controlled prices policy. … The inflation rate is the highest in the world: It is expected to be at 720 percent by the end of 2016.”

There are dozens more, but let’s end with this:

“Stump the socialist: Bernie would rather not talk about Venezuela,” HotAir website, May 28. Quote: Sanders was being interviewed May 26 by Univision correspondent Leon Krauze, who asked: “Various leftist governments, especially the populists, are in serious trouble in Latin America. The socialist model in Venezuela has the country near collapse. Argentina, also Brazil, how do you explain that failure?”

Sanders replied: “Right now I’m running for president of the United States.”

And that’s all he would say. But, claiming he can still move the needle because Democratic superdelegates “don’t actually vote” until the convention, he refuses to drop out.

While polls on a Trump-Clinton race vary, here’s what Rasmussen said Monday: “Right now Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are going nowhere. Rasmussen Reports’ regular polling shows them both hovering around 40 percent support, where they’ve been for weeks. … In both matchups, though, there remain an unusually high number of voters who prefer some other candidate or are still undecided. Undecideds in single digits are not unusual at this stage of the election season, but when nearly one-in-four voters say they’ll vote third-party or stay home, it’s time to wonder why.”

D’oh! Seriously? I think we all know why.

So, if you don’t like the current choices, send me an email saying what you would like to happen. Do you still plan to vote? For whom? I’ll give the results (the printable ones, anyway) in a future column.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]


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