The 2016 presidential campaign harkens back to the earliest years of our nation. Democracy, Republic, Three Branches of Government, Bicameral Legislature, By The People, Checks and Balances were new ideas. Did everyone agree? Not in the slightest. And they had not invented political correctness in the middle of the 18th century.
No; instead, anonymous, pamphlets of slanderous accusations and invectives, swirled like blizzards across the newly formed United States of America. The reins of power were not certain or predictable. Contenders for office came from all walks of life with no “party” to promote them.
The evolution of America’s two major political parties took some time, but those in power were hardly poor or neutral; power is the ultimate opioid. Despite conflicts, Democrats and Republicans play the same games; they expect to win and lose from time to time, but both sides know the rules of placating the masses by making them think they have a voice in what goes on.
Until recently, the pretense of two radically separate political bodies survived, and thrived. Now, two is not enough, talk is not enough, rhetoric is not enough. Americans are tired of the same old crap: “They” are bad, “We” are good. We will fix (what they broke, again). They found out that there is just one old machine with two faces; they do not want it anymore.
The 9/11 attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mortgage fiascos, the collapse of investment banks, the explosion of college costs and debts, the Great Recession, the expansion of global terrorism, have shaken our confidence in America, in ourselves, and in our institutions.
We have lost the super in superpower. Our military is so weak, we have to send the same soldiers back into combat again and again until they break; we spend millions of dollars on a drone strike to kill a dozen enemy soldiers so we can avoid American casualties. The all-professional military means that average citizens are not involved; we do not feel like we are really at war. What would make us think that?
The same old promises will not work on brand new problems any better than they did on the old problems. Conspiracies seem to explain current events better than the lame “official” excuses and falsehoods WikiLeaks keeps uncovering. And just maybe the truth is not that far off.
We have lost the attention span to take politicians seriously. Incumbents no longer offer us advantages. Hence the wave of populism, barely dodged by the Democrats secret machine, and now staring the Republicans in the face. The political czars are going to any length, including crossing over to the other side to avoid losing control of the constituencies they have cultivated.
The trouble is, the new constituencies are awakened, vocal, mobilized, and revolting against Big Brother. They want purpose, they want independence, they want liberty, and at least a passing chance in their pursuit of happiness.
It looks like the machine, with all its money, influence, propaganda, connections, and experience may win again this time. I am unhappy that my country, with all its advantages, cannot cultivate enough honorable leaders to field worthy candidates for president, and remain loyal when the voters speak.