“A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues.” Theodore Roosevelt
As we approach the end of 2015, America’s fiercely contested Presidential race resembles the typical dysfunctional family holiday gathering. On both sides of the political aisle, Democrat and Republican Party presidential contenders are jockeying for positioning in their respective primary races towards their faithful’s nomination as the standard bearers in the 2016 national election. To say the least, this presidential campaign has turned conventional political science on its head.
Sadly, the hallmark of the 2016 race to the White House has been a predominance of disgraceful rhetoric that shames every idealistic notion of what America really stands for. As a 30+ year political activist and recognized commentator on all things political in this country, I am personally stunned by the degree to which candidates have lowered the bar for acceptable proselytizing to garner voter support. America’s history is replete with character assassinations specifically designed to discredit one’s political opponents. Politics by its very nature is a confrontational sport in the quest for power. However, this year’s demagoguery and hateful scapegoating strikes at the very core of what I believe we as Americans have traditionally sought to portray ourselves.
By it’s even most flattering descriptions, the divisive racially charged, religiously intolerant and highly xenophobic political rhetoric arouses distant memories of fear mongering fascism reminiscent of Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler. Never in my deepest nightmares did I ever foresee such un-American developments in my country’s political dialogue. It is troubling and downright frightening to witness the raging popularity of such reprehensible oratorical trash! I, like so many of my fellow Americans, am embarrassed and even ashamed that we have allowed our political spokespersons to disgrace us in this manner.
I offer no apologies because in a democratic society where the freedom of speech is so highly regarded, such public discourse is of course protected and even encouraged. We truly believe the marketplace of ideas will rightly sort out the chaff from the worthy ideals that America stands for. Democracy is not an easy form of government to pursue and maintain. In fact it is often messy and at times even resembles loosely organized chaos. Nonetheless, our history has proven that the American people eventually find their footing, right the course of their ship of state and re-affirm the highest democratic principles the world has come to admire in the United States. I hope, pray and firmly believe that 2016 will be another example of America transcending its base fears to make this a better Union.
The reality of the world we live in is one of humanity transitioning. We are at another monumental crossroad in human history that will dramatically shape the Earth for decades to come. The preconceptions we have languidly accepted for over a hundred years in society, economics, geo-political security and national identities are all being challenged. They are not being challenged as faulty premises but rather as outdated and perhaps insufficient to deal with mankind’s progress and development. Questions of diversity, traditionally accepted societal groupings defined by a century old mapping of nation-state border lines and doubts over our omnipotent control of planetary natural law are breeding anxiety and fear. These societal dilemmas are susceptible to increased conflicts between nations, cultures and ethnicities. All of these are part of the endless struggle to allocate “seemingly” increasingly limited resources in the quest to survive.
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The world as we once knew it is changing. Change—the only constant in time—is frustrating, frightening and often met with violent resistance. Fear of the unknown future turns normally conscientious and rational human beings into a panicky mob of almost ravenous debased animals that are prey to the first leader of the pack that offers them an easy “quick-fix” direction to their immediate predicament. Anyone that appeals to their fear and scapegoats others as the source of their misery is seen as leader of strength and purpose when there is a vacuum of real leadership. Regardless of exaggerations, fact less charges or even bold face lies, people will sacrifice freedom for security in the false hope that a temporary fix, no matter how outrageous it is, is worth the risk. This is how democracy falls to dictatorship with thundering applause.
Likewise, when the “sheeple” acquiesce to their tolerance of dysfunction, corruption and polarization because of ignorance and/or apathy therein surrendering to the notion of “voting for the lesser of two evils,” they are the accomplices to their own self-destruction. They get what they deserve for failing to GET INFORMED GET INVOLVED (#GIGI)! Recent public opinion polls here in the United States clearly indicate that 65% of Americans either dislike or don’t trust the two presidential frontrunners Hillary Clinton (Democrat) or Donald Trump (Republican). Yet due to our arguably “rigged” partisan controlled primary electoral system voters are left with no other choice. Is that truly democracy?
On a regular basis I communicate with friends, colleagues or contacts in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and the sub-continent. The resounding reactions I receive from these well-educated international contacts runs the gamut of indignation, shock and absolute sarcastic humor regarding the present state of American political affairs. I rarely hear respectful admiration. This is truly a sad state of affairs. Nonetheless, I do my best to rebuke these perceptions with a vigorous re-affirmation of timeless American democratic principles that are accepted as genuine and heartfelt. Perhaps that is more because these individuals know me and are comforted by my honest sincerity. However, it becomes increasingly difficult in the face of incessant contradictions from the likes of our present presidential contenders.
As I close the year with my monthly column Politics Today here at Divine Magazine, I appeal to my readers around the world—DO NOT LOSE FAITH & HOPE IN AMERICA! Rest assured that the loud mouthed blathering’s of individuals like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz or the questionable declarations of Hillary Clinton about how bogus the assertions of her dishonesty are nothing more than partisan propaganda DO NOT REPRESENT REAL AMERICA! On the contrary, accept them as the self-serving political diatribes of candidates for public office. I feel confidently certain that such power hungry individuals exist in every country around the globe. I can personally guarantee you that there are those of us here in America and we are the majority of people, will defend democracy and the God given in-alienable rights of all to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to our dying breathes.
© 2016 – 2022, Tom Ufert. All rights reserved.