America Has No Clothes
No matter what you think of Donald Trump, he has done the United States of America a great service by exposing it for what it is. We have created a culture of lies, hyperbole and hypocrisy that has spread from politics, to the media, to the population at large. We have created a culture where facts do not matter unless they reinforce the beliefs we already hold. The result is two candidates who would not recognize the truth if it hit them in the face. The astonishment at the position we find ourselves in is laughable, as it is a perfect reflection of our culture. The endless rhetoric of the greatness of everything American has been challenged by an apocalyptic vision of doom and gloom. A deeply divided country has replaced reality with partisan visions where everyone is the victim.
Half the country is willing to abandon the moral code they claim to live by to satisfy their baser instincts and ambitions. The other half try to fight off an insane, racist, populist, narcissistic, conman with a corrupt, lying, power hungry elite. Clinton, at least, can point to some redeeming qualities: A history of public service; a knowledge of the world; an understanding of responsibilities of the office; the ability to show empathy, humility and sanity; a respect for our military, and a reverence that their sacrifices cannot not be matched in the private sector. The choice may not be a good one, but it is a linear one. Nose-holding aside, it is an obvious one. The curtain has been pulled back on America while the rest of the world watch. For now, we have no clothes.
Trump has brought the nationalists, racists and white supremacists out of the shadows and into the light. The attacks on political correctness were to make it acceptable to say things out loud they kept inside for years. Things that are just plain wrong. Political correctness has gone to far, allowing us to paint a much rosier picture of America than actually exists. Common decency should not be a victim of the attempt to moderate it.
It should never be okay to ridicule an entire religion for the actions of some, when we are not willing to do the same with our own. To suggest that a citizen is not a real American because of his heritage, is not okay. It should never be okay to attack a prisoner of war as a loser. No one should ever need to be told it is not okay to attack a Gold Star mother. And it should never be okay to dog whistle to the far right.
Trump has washed away the moral high ground the religious right have preached from for years, and shown they are very willing to trudge through the swamp. Actions speak louder than words, and their actions have exposed the true color of their sole. They joined a coalition of angry working class whites with no good vessel for their grievances. The poorly educated, Trump’s favorite demographic, have bought his lies. Diehard conservatives have put party before country. While others can attempt to justify the decisions they made, America’s evangelicals cannot hide behind the excuses of ignorance or loyalty. They have always told us that their religion, moral values and belief in religious freedom are their primary and guiding principles.
The fractures in American society, exposed by Trump, were created over years by the erosion of trust in our government to represent the people; Our pretense that we had dealt with the sins of our founders; and the destruction of credibility of the media to act as an honest check and balance on the partisan rhetoric of our politics. The deliberate propaganda campaign had a foreseeable consequence, as a result we ended up right where we are. They convinced the people that the only facts, science, Constitutional guarantees and supreme court decisions that are valid are those that comply with and reinforce the beliefs they already hold.
We have dug ourselves in so deeply on either side of the partisan divide, and have created a society where many are unwilling to acknowledge the obvious failings and flaws of those they support. Unable to see the total hypocrisy of embellishing the failings and flaws of those they oppose. The willingness to put party before country has exposed the patriotic proclamations as empty rhetoric by the .
There should be plenty of blame to go around, and empathy for those who have been left behind by an out of touch government and the unforeseen consequences of globalization. It is understandable why some have reached their breaking point. Frustration and a feeling of powerlessness can easily lead to irrational decisions made out of desperation. Any change is better than the status quo, which clearly hasn’t worked. The fact is that we have to accept that the status quo is better than negative change.
A real opportunity for positive change will result in the power shifting back to the people. Due to the decision of the Supreme Court on Citizens United, and gridlock in congress, change will take time. The 2016 presidential primaries have shown it is possible to elect an outsider, funded by small donations from the people. This campaign season, for all its of its failings, has laid the ground work to escape politics as usual As a result, we can return to governance by the people and for the people.
Chief Political Editor