Today, I’m gonna break one of my cardinal rules. I’m wading into a political discussion. I know, I know. This blog is very non-confrontational—at least it does to me. I’m not one to discuss religion nor politics; not in person and not in writing. Hell, those people I am closest to have differing views than I do.
And I am OK with that.
That differing opinion is something that I can live with if you can. But more and more, something in politics is getting to me. The anger and hate. It’s nothing new, especially if you look at the history of the United States Congress. Doubly so in the years preceding the turn of the 20th century. Heck, most political bodies aren’t perfect. Over the years, I’ve heard tales of what’s happened in places such as Great Britain’s House of Lords or the French government or in scores of civilized nations. I doubt that I need to go into the politics of third world countries, but I can if you want me to.
But in a supposed first world country, shouldn’t we be past fear-mongering and the extreme hatred which has marked the political scene over the past eight years? I feel like we should be. Well beyond it. But instead of getting better, it seems to be ramping up for a stranglehold on the national consciousness.
Over the past eight years, so much anger has been pointed at Mr. Obama over unjust reasons. If you disagree with him on the Affordable Care Act or the dozens of other programs and policies he’s been behind based upon concrete views, then that’s fine. But if you are still harping on him being from Kenya—or straight out because he is African American—I’m sorry, that is not just cause. That’s racism.
Liberals call Obama the best president in modern history. I refuse to say whether or not I agree with that, but there hasn’t been one more divisive for unjust reasons. And for all those people who say “Well, he’s not my president,” I’m sorry, do you live in the United States. He was duly elected, so I’m sorry (really, I’m not), but he is your president.
But over the last eight years, I have been naive. I was hoping that this all would go away when Obama left office and we could return to life as usual. Instead, if you’ve had your head stuck in the ground, things have gotten worse. Supporters for every party seem to be at each others throats for no good reason. This election season seems to be less about the facts and more about who can cut the legs out of their opponents the fastest.
I mean, let’s look at the stereotypes:
Trump supporters: Mostly racists who are willing to pick on anyone who is different from them. It doesn’t matter if that person is a different race, religion, or sex. We won’t even begin to mention the people with disabilities.
Clinton supporters: Angry feminists who just want a woman in office because it’s been long enough. Never mind if she is trustworthy or will sell out our national security. It’s just business as usual for Washington.
Sanders supporters: Just give up already. He lost. It may or may not have been fair, but that doesn’t change the outcome. The time has come for you to move on to another candidate until the next primary season—if he chooses to run. And you really think that Trump is the devil that you claim, then you better vote for Hillary. If you need to know why, look at your history books.
All of this is ridiculous. Do I fit into one of those camps? Yes, yes I do. Will I tell you which? Not unless I either married you or you are part of my family. It’s not one whit of your business, though I do see parallels to other historic elections—both inside the US and without—this election year.
But one thing that they all have in common is the hate those supporters feel for the other campaigns. The slurs, the epithets, the hate. Isn’t it too much for anyone else? We no longer care about skills or qualifications or career history, but rather swear that the other side is wrong without any proof.
It’s the politics of hate. I’m less scared of who will win the office of President, than of what will come after. If I disagreed with the winner, should I be scared for my life? God, I hope not. This is the United States after all, but with all the fear and anger going around, I’m not so sure. It’s happened before in human history. Germany in the 1930’s with a little fellow by the name of Adolf Hitler. Don’t tell me it can’t happen again, because it damn well can.
And that’s what scares me. Congress is threatening not to do their job. The Presidency is turning into a bully pulpit. A sane person would ask why are we giving these people power, but that hasn’t stopped us. We have checks and balances for a reason, but what are we to do if they no longer work? An obstructionist Congress is useless. Most of the time if the Presidency and Congress are held by two different parties, more unilateral bipartisanship happens. But not in the last eight years. Do you really think that will change?
It is hate and ego and power motivating these people, not the well-being of folks like you and me. Agree with a hike in minimum wage or not, no one who controls the purse strings should be able to decide whether or not they get a raise. Yet Congress can and does. How is that in your best interest, especially when they are fostering an air of hatred?
I want to say that I don’t get it, but sadly enough I do. And it scares me.