Page Two: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us
Whoever wins the election, the damage is already done
There is consensus that the country is in serious trouble. But despite the range of usual suspects, the problem is us, we the people. Not a corrupt ruling elite but the voters, who, overwhelmed by an ever-changing world, feel powerless. That's compounded by the shared conviction that the government is broken, with those running it completely corrupt.
This view is incessantly presented on social media, where self-congratulatory, morally superior pundits post unending accusations of corruption. Every allegation is accepted as indictment, the slimmest evidence becomes irrefutable proof of guilt. The partisan voices, whether right or left, are at least predictable. The ones pretending to impartiality are the most consistently vicious, attacking all candidates and most legislation. Actual solutions are never offered, as the real concern is to express glib self-righteousness.
The constant unreliable reporting reinforces the feeling of citizens that despite constitutional guarantees of empowerment, they are powerless, being overwhelmed by other citizens determined to destroy the republic. Ignoring the complexities of governing while insisting it provides no benefits, voters often embrace the most simplistic positions. Routinely they elect the politicians who tell them exactly what they want to hear. Actually passing legislation is near impossible especially as any compromise is regarded as treason. Accepting no responsibility themselves, most define the problem as the result of corrupt politicians and citizens with opposing views.
Devotion to the Constitution is easily offered by almost all, but few actually understand what that means or demonstrate any belief in it. Instead they are frustrated by its protections for those with opposing views.
The current election campaign is so divorced from reality as to be terrifying. The "lesser of two evils" dialogue ignores that rarely have the differences between presidential candidates been more pronounced.
Championed by his supporters as a radical outsider, they are certain Trump will rip apart the current corrupt Washington establishment. Restoring the integrity of government, he will reassert the country's international standing. Pointing out Trump's clear legal record of economic failure, manipulation, and dishonest business dealings, which have negatively impacted his investors, contractors, and employees, is quickly dismissed as propaganda. Instead of proving detrimental, it is solid evidence of the establishment's fear of his independence. His support is a passionate people's crusade driven by faith and desire. What they want to believe is true is true. Anyone who agrees with them is honest and a patriot. Anyone who disagrees is corrupt and a traitor. His followers know he is exactly who they imagine and need him to be. They easily ignore his clear track record of continually exploiting the very populations supporting him, while actively participating in the government corruptions and cronyism he is expected to confront.
An egocentric narcissist, Trump is an imagined candidate, a symbolic fantasy, equally unbound and unmarred in any way by reality.
The charge will be made here that I'm participating in the very demonization I accuse others of. But pretending he is anything else is to lie; there is no greater threat to the republic than electing an opportunist devoid of ideology.
Ironically, on the other hand, Clinton – despite a lifelong record of public service – has become vilified as representing everything wrong in this country. She has been demonized by the right, who both hate her humanist politics and are afraid of her substantial legislative skills. Now, depressingly, the progressive left has bought in and even expanded this vilification. Somehow she has come to personify every aspect of the current government that is despised. Clinton, a skilled and accomplished politician, is a decidedly mainstream politician. Somehow this has translated into an unending list of imagined crimes, unproven accusations, and hideous acts. Having lived most of her life quite publicly, her politics are clear, so little of what she does as president will be too surprising.
Trump is a complete unknown, though most of the virtues and heroic acts expected of him seem highly unlikely. Sadly, whereas Trump has always been recklessly and egotistically focused, Clinton's long commitment to public service is now counted against her. Especially derided by young activists who have few doubts as to what should be done without having accomplished much themselves, they readily buy these trumped-up charges. If Trump is elected, well then the change is likely to be not just profound but devastating. Even if Clinton wins, serious damage has been done, by citizens, those on the right and the left, who have ignored the Constitution, while too smugly condemning so many.