Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Is This the Best We Got?

I really had the wind knocked out of my sails last Presidential election when the people of this country mostly stayed home and allowed Obama to be reelected. I just couldn't understand it. It seemed there was no way, not even with a milquetoast candidate like Mittens, that this country could be so masochistic as to reelect Obama. One would have to literally hate themselves, their family, their friends, and their country to honestly want Obama to have a second term.

But that is what happened, much to my amazement. I've since been less apt to write about anything political since I figured that I just must be totally lost on all of this. I must have a gross conceptual error of politics in this country if what happened in the last Presidential election could actually happen. Then the last midterm happened, and I got a little hope from it. "Finally", I thought, "People are finally waking up".

And so I figured this election would be a good one. There would emerge great candidates on either side as the general mood of the populace had shifted to one of cold anger. We were mad as Tuscon and we weren't gonna take it anymore! 
And then these jackwagons we elected in the midterms didn't accomplish anything, and I began to wonder.

And then the nomination candidates began to lineup in early 2015, and I began to lose hope again. 
On the Republican side it was mostly the same old characters, with the exception of Rubio and Cruz as the supposed Tea Party darlings, and Fiorina and Carson as the outsiders. I really liked the idea of outsiders. My anti-establishmentism had already began to take root by that point.

On the Democrat side, it was even more hopeless. Hillary. Again. And of course the openly Socialist Bernie, who resembles an ivory tower-esque old fuddy duddy Professor at a heavily leftist Liberal Arts college, waving his arms uncontrollably like one of those air-dancer balloons in front of a car dealership and pronouncing absolute hogwash that only the most mush-brained pipe-dreamers and Che-loving Marxists (i.e., college students) could accept as gospel.

And then Donald Trump arrived on the scene. My befuddlement was complete. 

Is this the best we got???
America, the free, the bold, the greatest country on Earth, the shining city on a hill, the the Mecca of commerce and innovation, the capital of capitalism, the epicenter of science and technology. And the best people we can come up with to run for the leader of this great nation are these yahoos?

Where are the Lincolns, the Eisenhowers, the Reagans? Where are the FDRs or the Kennedys? Who are these people, and what business do they have running for the most powerful position on the planet? Surely we have better than these to represent us and lead us? We have some of the greatest minds, thinkers, inventors, scientists, engineers, creators, developers, and leaders in human history. Where are those people?

Of course, I am now  convinced that Donald Trump is one of those people, but where are the others? Why are those kinds of people not running? Why is Trump the only candidate since Reagan to really push for an America First agenda? How is that not automatically a go-to for a serious presidential candidate? It is the obvious one thing that all Americans should get behind.

Raising my hand and saying "ooh ooh" like Arnold Horshack, I can say "I know the answer, Mr. Kotter". The problem is money. Campaigning is incredibly expensive, and one has to fairly sell one's soul to lobbyists and corporate interests and people like Soros or the Kochs to get the money to run a campaign. And real leaders just aren't in the soul-selling business. Soul-buying maybe, but not soul-selling.

So the position of President of the United State of America, the greatest country on Earth, instead of attracting the best of us, actually attracts the worst of us. Corporate money like fresh rain on dirt brings out the worms. Like a cargo hold of cheese, brings out the rats. They scurry around promising to do their masters' bidding for campaign donations and Super PAC bundling, so they can have the power, money, and prestige that comes with being President, while their corporate sponsors get what they want out of a government they largely own.

And what is lost in this transaction? American interests. Which means my interests and your interests. All of these deals over decades benefit politicians and corporations, and do not benefit us. In fact, in most cases, they hurt us. They've largely eroded our once great manufacturing sector. They've eroded wages. They've changed the demographics of this country to the point where our very culture is challenged daily.

And it's not about conspiracies or hidden agendas. It's just about simple power and money. 

So no, Virginia, this is not "the best we got". This is the best we can hope for under a thoroughly corrupt system. You see, government is not the only enemy of the People. Unethical Corporations are too. This is not a rant against capitalism. Far from it. In true capitalism, market competition keeps corporations in check. This is crony capitalism. A system designed to both benefit large corporations by controlling legislation and policy, while stifling new businesses and possible competitors through...legislation and policy.

Trump may be a great president and break the mould. He certainly is unbeholden to corporate interests. And his central theme is "America First". Which is quite refreshing. But Trump isn't enough. It will take more than Trump, assuming Trump will do what he says and represent what he claims to. We must find a way to remove the corruption from politics, especially the presidency, but also in Congress. 

Only then will we see "the best we got" running for the job.

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