The most consequential decision in our lifetime

Photo credit- Caleb Wright

Photo credit- Caleb Wright

How much do we really love our country?  Do we really remember what our country stands for? Have we chosen to disregard centuries of universal ethics, morals and common decency towards human kind, all because our country is having a temper tantrum?

The choices between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could not be more stark. When we peel back the layers of the onion, what we are finding out is more about ourselves than even the candidates virtues and character.

I am the first one to say how depressed I am with the binary choices set before us.  Out of around 330 million people in the United States of America, are we really ready to admit that these two final candidates are the best which can be offered to lead our country to a better place?  Can anyone make a remotely credible claim that they represent the highest ideals of our American system of fair play, justice and empathy?

The system we have in place, which puts an emphasis on reality TV, inside political gamesmanship, politics as a blood match like we witnessed in the Roman Coliseum in biblical times just makes our perspective depressingly sad.  Where are our leaders?  Where are the Martin Luther Kings, The JFK’s, The Ronald Reagans, The Abraham Lincolns, the Thomas Jeffersons and Nelson Mandelas of our times?

Are we a people who yearn to be aspirational anymore?  Have we ceded the goals of leadership and role models to only superficial sport stars?  Is the reason to get up in the morning is to see what Kim Kardashian was wearing on Rodeo Drive at Tuesday’s local bistro rather than focusing on the plight of our society in which advances in science, ethics, cooperation, understanding, and greater happiness serves our ultimate life’s mission?

I do not see this anymore.  I see a thirst for people to get into their comfort quarters, speak to people in their own bubbles who reinforce their viewpoints, and take a side for the sheer sake of winning.  What they have achieved at most is probably a pyrrhic win, not a tangible accomplishment which we can all be proud.  Unfortunately,  in a world set up for winners and losers, the means now justify the ends.  That is the greatest mistake of our times, and those who subscribe to that theory will eventually devour each others’ soul.

Let’s look at Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.  I try my best to not have my own biases interfere with my open-mindedness.  However, as I look at the reasons why some people support Donald Trump, I have come to the sad conclusion that they have decided to “sell their ethical and moral souls” for the sake of change.  I understand the despair of these people.  It would be very frustrating getting screwed by a system we have in place.  It is certainly not completely fair and there are strong special interests who use their money to buy political influence.  I get it.  I really do.  But can’t we see a con man who is this obvious?  Are we really going to let everything we believe in our life go out the drain for the unsubstantiated belief that he will actually advance anything?

However, have we really digested all the variables that make up a choice for president that can literally change the world we live in with truly catastrophic results?

Permit me to use a metaphorical example in our history, although arguably much worse, that can be instructive to our current thought process.  In the 1930’s, Germany was facing social unrest.  There was a feeling they were getting the raw end of the stick after the ashes of WWI and have not been given a fair chance to rebound quickly enough.  So, the Germans chose a scapegoat – the Jews.  Perfect low hanging fruit.  Not politically powerful, had no army, and were viewed by many as another human inferior race.  Up comes a leader from the swamps of that thought process with its nascent stage being prejudice and bigotry, harnessed by century-held biases to lend itself to justifiably psychological rationale, and posed a direction for the angry and oppressed.  Let’s blame others, absolve ourselves of any responsibility for our predicament, and bring out the worst of us to attempt to conquer the world.  And here comes Hitler – the change agent filled with rage and insanity.

So what happened? Six million Jews died in the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald.  Millions of Russians, Gypsies and collaborators were murdered indiscriminately, and a country not feeling the least bit upset over these actions.  Would it be fair to assume that EVERYONE of these people sold their souls to the devil for the perverse logic that this was the best choice of action to regain their national pride and status?  History has shouted a resounding no.  And the results were devastating.  The country was destroyed and their immoral and ruthless actions would become a national scourge on their collective society so broad that they still share the guilt and humiliation even today.

How many times do we need to learn that change for change sake does not mean that is a better course of action.  In fact, supporting a vulgar, sociopathic serial liar who adds the bad human qualities as being a misogynist, a bigot, a racist, and bordering on the insane could ever be a choice we would consider just for the need for change?  Even if Hillary has done many things wrong (she has), are we going to wash the baby out with the bath water?  Are we, as ethical and decent Americans, prepared to devolve into a society that can destroy the fabric of our democracy, let alone put the world in a thousand more times a dangerous predicament than the current chaos in the Middle East and other hot spots?

Those who do not look back at history are depriving themselves, their children, their grandchildren and our future descendants on this earth of a place that has evolved to learn, love and grow together.  Those who think the answer to life is a pure capitalist “zero sum game” with winners and losers will make the same mistakes made by every other generation prior to us.

The cliché, “We are all in it together” has withstood the test of time.  Who do we want to be as a people?  How do we want the world to view us?  What lessons do we want to teach our kids?  How do all diverse people of different genders, races, and religions bond and understand each other rather than taking the long and proven deadly historic ‘absolutist view’ that if we believe in our tradition and ideology, than others must be wrong.  Isn’t that the final result of the human experience, that division and perpetual strife is a cycle that cannot win out at the end?

This election unfortunately is a choice among two candidates who most people do not like for many different reasons. Hillary Clinton is perceived as an insider, a person who does not seem to connect viscerally with the people, and is so secretive due to fear of her life long opponent’s attacks on her that she is perceived as always hiding something. Most of the times, these are self-inflicted wounds. She surely is not the greatest politician we have seen. Great orators like Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan captured the mind and spirit of a country. Hillary Clinton is a policy wonk. She has devoted her entire life to public service. Let’s at least give her credit for that. She is not the devil people make her out to be.

Would Vice President Joe Biden have been the safer choice this year against Donald Trump? Of course! Life has many twists and turns which we cannot see coming. If not for the very sad event of his son, Beau Biden, dying of cancer last year, I think Joe Biden would have ran and this race would have been over at the convention.

There is no use looking back of what “might have been.’ We need to look at what is right now and what is the best for our country and our children’s future.

Donald Trump has always been in it for Donald Trump. There is no evidence to prove otherwise. He is not a great businessman despite his opaque claims. He is a cunning manipulator of people, banks, and laws to fulfill his own self-interest, despite the harm it does upon others. A sociopath of such great magnitude that Merriam Webster does not currently have a definition for this type of psychological disorder. They just might have to call it a “Trumpiopath”…’A blended mix of self-aggrandizement, delusional thinking, the belief that if someone says a lie often enough it is deemed true in the back recesses of one’s mind, and making one feel great by making everyone else feel small.’

Unless you are a nihilist, please realize that history has shown us the path of politicians like Donald Trump who bring out the worst of humanity and advance nothing.

This time, let’s make an effort to learn early rather than after the fact, when one day it might actually be too late to come back from the abyss.

2 replies »

  1. Hi Scott, As you know, I have read and continue to read and enjoy all your commentaries. I think this is your most insightful one thus far. I look forward to all the future ones. Thank you for sharing your well researched and educated insights into all things politic

    Happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.


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