Monday, October 3, 2016

Got no dog in this fight

But is that true?

I’ve not used this blog to comment on the US presidential elections up until now but the more I see, and hear, and learn, the more I realise that we all have a dog in this fight, no matter where we are on the planet. Because the US is undeniably the most powerful nation on earth, everything that happens south of the border has a ripple effect right around the globe. We may not like the undue influence the US exerts in our daily affairs but it’s undeniably there.

So when I read the news and watch the debates and see a run for the presidency of the United States of America looking like a school yard campaign undertaken by an out-of-control 6-year-old running for 1st Grade Class President I despair. Not only for my American friends, many of whom are also watching in horror, but for all of us who have seen our politics become nothing more than a crass, cheezy reality show, ultimately destined for the dinner time slot on A&E.

It’s a disgrace that out of a population of 320 million people this is the best candidate the GOP could find to present to America and to the world. It’s a disgrace that it’s deemed acceptable to offer inducements (veiled though they were) to have your political opponent assassinated. It’s a disgrace that encouraging your enemies to meddle in an election is shrugged off by your spokespeople. It’s a disgrace that it is now acceptable to publically disparage women, the handicapped, war heroes, your neighbours, (it’s a long list) and be rewarded by your supporters for doing so. It’s a disgrace that otherwise sane Republicans are twisting their morals and ethics into pretzels to justify their support for this man. It’s a disgrace that this cringe-worthy caricature of himself has made what is arguably the most important decision Americans make every 4 years into a joke, little more than fodder for comedians and late night show hosts.

The world is fragile enough without an ill-tempered bully in the Oval Office, so I despair and hope for all of our sakes that sanity prevails in November and this is as close as he gets to real power.

24 comments:

  1. Word, David. I also followed the debate hoping for some real political content from either side, but all you got was - you said it - fodder for the comedians. And yes, I watched these shows, too. But this is no laughing matter. I guess most people all over the world are likely to think: WTF? What did I miss? When did American politics become a soap opera? The president of the United States is one of the most important jobs in the world, and the people are not able to find a handful more suitable candidates? Two elderly that should be retiring in Boca. Mentally: One five year orange hairpiece old vs. an old crow consumed by ambition. Scary times, indeed. Hoping for the best.

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    1. Sonja - All we can do is look on in amazement.

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  2. You really should remove is post and stick to motorcycles. You don't have any political issues in your area?

    You're just causing bad blood otherwise.

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    1. Dan - We have lots of political issues in this area and I'll post on them as well when I think I have something to say. I know some people will take exception to my views on this but I felt this issue is important enough and, in fact, dangerous enough that I couldn't ignore it any longer. If having an alternate viewpoint causes bad blood, so be it, it's just a further example of the Balkanization of western politics today.

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  3. Well said, Dave. I echo your sentiments!

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    1. Gary - It's just so disappointing to see political discourse degrade to this level in such a great country.

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  4. I'm with Dan Diego. But its your blog, if you wish to make it a political one, it's your choice.

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    1. Dom - I don't often post on politics but sometimes things just have to be said.

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    2. David, like I said, it's your blog, do what you will.

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  5. Good for you David! Your blog, your views, say what you like!

    The USA is a great country, I worked there for a short time and love the people. I'm on the other side of the world but have followed the campaign with interest as ultimately, the elections affect us all. I just wonder with all the smart, caring people the US has, how come the two candidates do not represent the core values which the US stands for?

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    1. Geoff - It is a great country, that's why this is all so inexplicable and sad. A great country full of great, smart, people should not be allowing itself to be led this way.

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  6. Actually, it's not inexplicable. Sad yes. Inexplicable no. The only people who would actually be good at the job realise that the person holding the office will be totally hamstrung by the supposedly infallible "balance of powers" among the three arms of government as defined in the Constitution. Thus almost no-one who would do a good job is interested in running for it. Then the people who are interested have been doomed to an interminable campaign as developed by Jimmy Carter many years ago: the sooner you start the better your chances of collecting enough delegates to the convention. Thus you need to able to collect literally buckets of money to sustain such a campaign, so you become beholden to many many "interest groups". Those who have idealistic ethics can never progress through this filter. Finally the selection process within the parties is driven by the loudest and the most radical of the membership. The media need the sound bite that is most outrageous every day and night. Look at the percentage of the coverage given to each of the Republican candidates during the primaries and ask yourself: who gets the mindspace from all the free advertising? Given these situations, why is it a wonder that things have developed the way they have? The only question after all that is whether any candidate can shift gears from appealing to the fringe of the total population that is the hard-core of any party membership to somehow appeal to the broad centre that actually does vote in the candidate? And remember PT Barnum: "No one ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American public". So continue to "be afraid, be very afraid".

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    1. Pat - All valid points. Certainly funding is a big issue. When it costs close to a billion dollars to run a presidential candidate something is very, very wrong indeed. And the IOUs signed to collect that money are also problematic. Clearly something has to give if this downward spiral is not to continue.

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  7. I think everyone should be very interested in what happens in this election. This is not just tossing a small pebble into a puddle to see a tiny ripple, this has the potential to be a world wide tidal wave. If the US so much as sneezes we catch the proverbial cold right along with them. It scares the hell out of me to see so much vitriol being spewed. These are scary times indeed.

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    1. Dar - The results will have world-wide consequences for sure. And when the whole reason presented to vote for a specific candidate is that they are NOT the other person, then you really have no idea what you're voting FOR, just what you're voting AGAINST. We saw a lot of that in our own election last year, and that is not good for any democracy.

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    2. Exactly! It seems politics is becoming very polarized and issues get lost. I think the best thing that could happen would be that politicians should be banned from social media during campaigns - no twitter. I also think the time in which they can campaign should be prescribed so you don't have and endless amount of time for all this drivel. As for our CDN elections I am glad they are quick and not too much crap over the airwaves, I think I would go stark raving mad if we had to endure this for 18 months. I have to say we were also heading down this slippery slope of mudslinging and I was one very unhappy Canadian.

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  8. I refuse to watch any of the debates. I would just want to throw things at my television. I would have preferred Bernie Sanders as a candidate, but by default I will vote for Hillary. I just shake my head at Trump. I think it started as a publicity stunt and now he is the candidate and no one really knows how it happened. I think it may have surprised him too and he is just going with it. I am not sure they could have found a larger idiot though. Just my 2 cents.

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    1. Trobairitz - I wonder if there was a spike in new TV sales after the last debate? It wouldn't surprise me. LOL
      I think Sanders would have been a credible candidate but whether he was electable by a broader constituency or not was the issue I expect. Still, it's a pretty dismal choice to have to make.

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  9. I was leaning toward Bernie, but the DNC rigged the Primaries in favor of Clinton and Bernie has a zero chance before a single vote was cast. So, Clinton effectively stole the nomination. Today Clinton argued you have to vote for her because she is a woman. She hasn't ever done an honest thing in her life except being born a woman and I don't see how that alone offsets all the questionable things the Clintons have been involve in.

    No matter what happens in 5 weeks this country is on the brink of something that was unthinkable a few years ago. Heaven help us all!

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    1. AZHD - As one wag put it, the choice is between a bad president for 4 years and an insane president for 4 years. A helluva choice.

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  10. David, the American President is not as powerful as a Canadian or British Prime Minister with a majority government. It's true that, legislatively, the US President ends up mostly hamstrung by Congressional gridlock.

    The US President has huge executive powers though, and this is where a US President has the most potential for good, and bad. Covert drone operations, secret rendition prisons, ill-considered wars with disastrous consequences, these are all things that the President has the power to do. The killing of Bin Laden was a good thing. The deposing of Sadam Hussein was akin to pulling the pin on a grenade and tossing it casually over your shoulder.

    Donald Trump says whatever comes to mind without regard to truth or consequences and without thinking anything through, or listening to anyone else. That alone ought to disqualify him for the job.

    The thing is that the people who will elect him just don't care that he's a liar and a bully. In fact, the bigger the bully, the better, and who can be bothered with facts anyway. So boring, so tiresome.

    He admires foreign strongmen with abysmal human rights records. They sure know how to get the job done. Who cares how many civilians die in Aleppo? Where is Aleppo anyway?

    The truly scary thing is this. If you read the recent New York Times book review on the most recent biography on Adolf Hitler and you substitute "Hitler" for "Trump" as you read, many, if not most of the statements ring true.

    The German political elite honestly believed that even though Hitler was a loose cannon, he could be managed and hemmed in once in office. Many political rivals went along to protect their careers.

    This whole Trump episode begins to look like history repeating itself in the worst way possible.

    What could possibly go wrong?

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    1. David - Depressingly accurate synopsis. I just can't fathom how so many otherwise intelligent people can fall for his bluster and bullshit.

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    2. He-he-he-he-he!!!

      What a difference a few days makes in our wired, camera laden techtopia.

      Turns out that the Donald did pull the pin, and put the grenade in his back pocket.

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