Hillary Clinton won Nevada in a squeaker against Bernie Sanders. Whether or not she wins the nomination, which seems somewhat probable, Sanders is putting up quite a fight. A self-identified Socialist is neck and neck with wannabe-Socialist Hillary Clinton. Quite a show.
I am currently reading Edmund Burke, his speech on Conciliation with America (1775). I highly recommend it. It's an English perspective on the difficulties they were having with the American colonies and Burke's suggestions on what to do about them. I haven't finished it yet, but his perspective is fascinating - he focuses on what makes Americans special - the focus on freedom.
In this character of the Americans, a love of freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole; and as an ardent is always a jealous affection, your Colonies become suspicious, restive, and untractable whenever they see the least attempt to wrest from them by force, or shuffle from them by chicane, what they think the only advantage worth living for. This fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English Colonies probably than in any other people of the earth...Reading Edmund Burke, brings the reminder of who we, Americans, are at our core. The harsh dissonance between who we are in our being and who is leading the polls in our ongoing Presidential election is painful and disheartening.
Donald Trump, Republican front-runner is a demagogue. While some of what he says may be true, and much is not, the way he says it and who he insults and blames along the way is disturbing to say the least. He brings out the worst in people. Nativism is making a comeback. He is a populist whose current platform does not reflect other earlier political beliefs. How do we know which policies reflect the "real" Trump? The lack of respect for his rivals, his putdowns of POWs (while referring to Senator John McCain), along with attacks on women is way out of line and completely unpresidential behavior. It is inexcusable and unacceptable.
The fight between the Socialist and the wannabe-Socialist is uncomfortable to watch. Sanders has always been a Socialist. Clinton has not, and watching her move left, attempting to usurp Sanders' supporters, we can see how far the Democratic Party has fallen. Tax, tax, tax. Free, free, free... are the bywords of the Democrats. While not as obnoxious as Trump, Clinton and Sanders are demagogues in their own right. Identity politics and class warfare are used to divide us, and are so commonplace, we don't even identify them as demagoguery when they clearly are. Our current Demagogue-in-Chief, rather than follow up on his 2004 Democratic National Convention focusing on bringing all Americans together, spent his next 7+ years in office using inflammatory speech and demagoguing anyone and everyone who disagreed with him. I almost fell off my chair when I heard him lament the state of political discourse at his last State of Union address.
This presidential election is painful when we see the frontrunner of one party and both candidates of the other use language that is anti-individual and anti-liberty. Aside from his other nonsense, I have yet to hear Donald Trump condemn the use of eminent domain for private use - taking private property not for the public good, but rather for usage by private companies. I have only heard from Sanders and Clinton about more regulation and more taxation. What we are seeing here, to borrow a phrase, the larger the government, the smaller the individual.
Returning to Burke's description of Americans.
...a love of freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole; and as an ardent is always a jealous affection, your Colonies become suspicious, restive, and untractable whenever they see the least attempt to wrest from them by force, or shuffle from them by chicane, what they think the only advantage worth living for.It worries me that this "jealous affection" of liberty and freedom is no longer, and the suspicion of government is long gone only to be replaced by demagoguery and what can be gotten for "free".
Thomas Jefferson offers this thought, ""The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground." Is this an inevitable truth?
This election should make us look long and hard at ourselves and decide who we are at our core and how we want this to translate into action for the future.
2016 is a turning point in American history. What kind of America will we be leaving our children?