State of American Politics

Do foreign governments look askance at the American election, especially the presidential election, what with its insane Supreme-court-driven political system of unlimited campaign spending, coupled with a profit-driven corporate news media which covers – even creates – drama for ratings? All this leaves us with headline-seeking candidates, sporting tongues of titillated tart coupled with minds bereft of policy, unchallenged and unchallenging.

Furthermore, if you speak key issues like income inequality, climate change, terrorism, or nuclear weapons, the media portrays boredom, this while covering the Trump insult-of-the-day, laced with what-has-become-routine substance-free attacks of one or the other opponent. Similar to a junior high school cafeteria scene, but with media cameras, we see Donald Trump’s latest boast: for example, “ISIS, believe me, they will be in such trouble.” The Donald failed to say how or why. There isn’t even much coverage on the attacks against the vital Obama nuclear agreement with Iran or the GOP’s lack of alternatives.

I must admit that we all are still captivated by the exchanges back and forth between Republican candidates. This should be classified under entertainment, separate from the presidential campaign, for such entertainment only lends the farce of fanciful boast and bombast to what should be a serious campaign. Trump did get serious for a rally in Oskaloosa, Iowa, barring the Des Moines Register due to a Register editorial that said “Trump should pull the plug on his bloviating side show.”

It is not so hard to imagine how Donald Trump is riding the crest of popularity now when you consider the state of our country.

The do-nothing Congress is a well-established phenomenon in Washington, a geographic area containing elbow-to-elbow lobbyists who do the bidding of a few monolithic corporations, even write legislation that cuts off at the knees benefits for the many, while showering the few with tax breaks, deregulation, and subsidies. Posturing, money-grubbing politicians and an irrelevant agenda render so-called representatives ineffective for the vast majority of us.

We see and experience this political circus and we feel helpless.

While Trump is a straight-talking non-professional politician, he mirrors the culture of America. He is a celebrity with conspicuous wealth, a never-failing bluster, and a bigger-than-life reality TV role.

Furthermore, you might say he mirrors the personal qualities of most of the fifteen other Republican candidates. He has the bragging, narcissistic personality of a Chris Christie. He has the household name of a Bush without the obligation of curiosity or ruling knowledge. He claims the Hispanic following of a Marco Rubio. He is unfriendly to working people and their unions like Scott Walker or John Kasich. He displays a tart tongue, but the lack of a mental problem-solving acuity of a Rick Perry. He is as opportunistic and uncaring as a Bobby Jindal. He will say and do anything for attention like a Ted Cruz. He claims business acumen, like a Carly Fiorina, and he is as bogus and wily as a Rand Paul.

According to Paul Begala, in the Republican Party alone, he reflects the views of most Republicans. Sixty-four percent of Republicans agree with at least Trump’s earlier birther implication, “President Obama is hiding important information about his background and early life.” Probably more than 34 percent of Republicans go full-on birther. Sixty-eight percent of Republicans believe Trump is right on immigration. Even some 22% agree with his hateful attack on John McCain. In explanation, perhaps McCain has maintained a political career on this fact, more than on legislative performance.

Begala summarizes his explanation of the Trump phenomena by saying that he is “the face of the GOP: angry, white and male. He is the voice of the GOP. Hell, he’s even the hair of the GOP.”

But aside from that, consider the allocation of resources for what candidates consider important. It’s certainly not schooling in foreign affairs or domestic affairs, including tax policy, investment needs, education or defense spending – none of that. It’s raising money, getting into the first so-called Fox debate (top ten in poll averages), and demonizing opponents.

The result is that all of these candidates are spending their time posturing, planning outrageous, media-attracting events and statements, spending untold time with money-raising events, and in effect, promising favor to rich donors. Unfortunately this is true for both parties.

Certainly when voting day finally arrives, over a year later, whole droves of Americans across the country could fail to show up for the next election, losing heart when in most states, the presidential candidate with a simple majority takes all electoral votes, where gerrymandered districts control most House seats, where state laws might turn the election by restricting minority voting, and where a few thousand people in many less populous states are grossly overrepresented in the Senate.

In the backdrop of some eighteen months of political clamor, accompanied by little of substance, but almost 24/7 of media attack, we ask the world to respect a process to select leaders who must, in the end, provide meaningful leadership in a world that is vastly changing, held responsible for the stability of the world’s dominant currency, the dollar, and provide direction for problems that grow more insurmountable each day.

Such requires the best leaders.


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