I believe in watching, reading, and listening to people with whom I differ, even people who label me through prejudice, ignorance, or laziness. It helps me understand their thinking, and I can learn a great deal from them. I do not have to agree with alternate world views, religious beliefs, xenophobia, or virulent attacks on who we are as Americans, to gain from the thoughts of others.
Just based on the title, I could not resist reading an intriguing, recent article from Al Jazeera. (“Muslims for Bernie Sanders” Hamid Dabashi – Al Jazeera – April 18, 2016)
Hamid Dabashi, is a Muslim New Yorker, and is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York. He makes clear that he sees America as:
“an imperial republic that systematically arms the rich tyrants around the world, supports Israel stealing Palestine and murdering Palestinians one settlement at a time, and helps to create monstrosities such as ISIL,”
Nonetheless, he struck a chord with me with his depictions of the candidates for President.
He sees a Jew, Bernie Sanders, as the least of evils. Here is how he described the other candidates:
“On the Republican front, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are clean-shaven prehistoric cave-dwellers in business suits, while Hillary Clinton on the Democratic front is the dictionary definition of a chameleon – like a corrupt politician changing colour depending on which way the political wind blows but consistently representing mega-donors, big banks, and Super PACs without any moral scruples, while feigning that she cares about the poor and the disenfranchised.”
Prejudiced? Clearly. Exaggerated? Yes. Unkind? You bet. A tinge of truth? I think so. This is an example of unfettered expression that peels away “positions,” facades, proclamations, and euphemisms; it paints hyperbolic, clown makeup on politicians willing to do anything to take control of the world’s most powerful office.
Of course, I do not know any of the candidates intimately; that leaves me in the same boat with 320-million fellow Americans. We are stuck with what we see, hear, and read from the media, and the doctrinaire: fine-tuned, over-financed, underhanded, cruel, amplified bullshit. What we notice is demagoguery, ad hominem attacks, critical weaknesses, as well as financial and moral contamination. Is this the best we can expect?
Truth is, we created this cultural environment, so toxic, superficial, and righteous, that stellar citizens shun the thought of public office. That leaves people who are some combination of ambitious, connected, famous, infamous, genuine, ingenuous, humorous, inspiring, fearless, facile, naive, opinionated, savvy, confident, telegenic, persuasive, eloquent, ruthless, righteous, charismatic, narcissistic, attractive, energetic, etc.
Later this year, each party will choose a candidate. Will they be the clear delegate winner, winner of brokered convention, or a “dark horse,” knighted by their party? Then they will choose the appendage candidate for vice president. They become “the Ticket.”
Then we will have the November election. Who will win? I think the populist candidate who mobilizes angry constituents in pain. We should not be surprised, given the ignition of the underemployed, the unpredictable “millennials,” and those wounded by the economy on either end of the political spectrum. If they show up at the polls, Sanders/Trump could be chosen.
Otherwise, if the Republicans do not unite, Clinton/Sanders wins. The impact of a new justice on the Supreme Court will be momentous. The real focus should be on electing legislators. We have capable, reasonable candidates for most open seats. I do not believe the presidential election will influence the congressional elections much. The composition of the Senate and the House of Representatives is most critical in setting the stage for the next 4-8 years. Choose well.
(I have great concerns for the nation should “entitlements” expand and laws against “inequality” prevail. The power of prayer is becoming more attractive every day.)