We sit in the midst of another election season. It is one that is specifically defined by viciousness, outrage and character assassination by association. There are strong believers on each side in the millions, but the public discussion is an uncivil one of trying to tear down an opposing opinion, defend actions that are indefensible or vilify someone for who they support or what they believe.
While America’s past has had presidents whose character would not meet the media microscope that politicians live under today, a feeling of helplessness against the government has come before with the most powerful citizenry in the world. It is one where more “we can’t let this happen messages” have gravitas and fewer “Americans united for a common good” messages have relevance. Coming on the heels of an arrogant manipulator, who approached governing with a “my way or the highway mentality,” comes two main options:
1. To elect a highly corrupt politician; potentially guilty of treason, collusion and voter tampering, and definitely guilty of lying to the American public, a foreign policy that made America weaker over her tenure in power and stating that 11,000 annual gun deaths is a greater issue facing the country than the 950,000 babies annually killed in utero (deferring the latter to an issue of women’s rights).
2. To elect a highly unpolished and arrogant businessman; potentially guilty of believing that he knows better than everyone he interacts with, definitely guilty of being honest in a capacity that makes people uncomfortable; vulgar at times, more forthright than the establishment can handle at other times and highly offensive to the agenda to many.
We have more and more people are talking about how much they are looking forward to it being over than to what will happen when it’s over. Make no mistake about it, this election is about real outcomes when it is over. We may very well be faced with two people whose character doesn’t measure up, but lying, vicious attacks, corruption and inappropriate comments have been the mainstay of this election season on all sides. The distraction from the outcome has been heavily placed on the immediacy of the outrage.
The last 10 years have taught us that misinformation has risen to preeminence in our society. As a result, many times, that facts aren’t as important as feelings. When passion fuels an agenda supported by the right media bias, facts fall silent to the cry for justice. When the voice of frustration is not one that the various media influencers wish to have broadcast, fact-checkers are found in abundance and politicized fact-checking websites become authority regardless of the injustice.
America has become a society of asterisks and agendas; exceptions justifying policy and denial of our part played in the situation at hand. We look to find blame, and often find it in the opposing opinion of our fellow Americans. Lincoln’s assertion of the house divided and its ability to stand is the place America finds itself today.
This is not about equity or equality, the rich being rich or the poor being poor, legislating morality or paying your supposed fair share. This is about allowing freedom to guard the choice to do wrong with a greater voice than what is right. This is an identity crisis where citizens are supposed to allow elected officials to dictate American policy and redefine what it stands for on behalf of its subordinate class, called We the People.
We see this in a president who has more than doubled national debt; someone who puts golf ahead of state responsibility and has used his international platform to speak out against his own citizens on partisan issues. We see this in a deadlocked legislative battles, where coalition building and cooperation take a back seat to party-line-oriented governing and non-existent transparency. We see it in a presidential race where arrogance and accusation retain more importance than policy or position; as the media replays heavy-handed sound bites that lay down an agenda and fosters disparaging attitudes, rather than elevate the spirit of unity and hope.
All the while, freedom is being strangled by irrelevant standards. I have heard too much commentary on disapproval of a person who is askew from the main line of a bygone establishment. I say bygone, as there is current constituency of voters ages 18 to 30 who only know partisan-based bickering as the consistency of what American government looks like. 80% these citizens voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democrat Primary, and citizens 31-80+ gave them very little reason to believe in anything other than another potential outsider named Donald J. Trump.
We currently have 5 loud voices from Americans:
1. Conservatives who are conservative by conservative standards.
2. Conservatives who are conservative by progressive standards.
3. People who pick and choose pieces of ideology from multiple platforms and personalities to form their vote.
4. Progressives who are progressive by conservative standards.
5. Progressives who are progressive by progressive standards.
Most of these loud voices are so busy arguing about why they are right that they have forgotten to instill the message of greatness into their relevance. Added to the high decibels are fringe perspectives, living at the extremes of the spectrum with things that sound like utopia, but will never unite the commonwealth. While their vision for America will never be realized, their opinion is used to polarize others out of reality and into the theoretical.
The outpouring of this is that We the People have begun to break down. The union is no longer united under principles of true justice, domestic tranquility, provision of common defense, promotion of the general welfare, or securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. This isn’t centered around a policy or a personality, it is the essence of being divided and watching the house fall down around us.
This is a pivotal point for America. The next steps must have wisdom and be seasoned with the difficult decisions necessary to refashion an America that can survive another 240 years. Choices based on a partisan moral compass are not lines of logic that accomplish anything of lasting value. If we take this path we only succeed in becoming ineffective abolitionists; putting forth an economy of illusion, a currency of self-importance and taking a high road that doesn’t exist.
The coming election is about real outcomes. Winning a battle of personality, ideological authority or objection for the sake of culpability only lives in an illusion of victory. This illusion pretends that one’s personal principles supersede how drastically life will change when the house divided finally falls and when luxuries of an intact society give way to unrecoverable catastrophe.
This election has proved that the underlying political methodologies at play are completely glossed over with the distractions provided through media bias. The examples are too numerous, where our attention was taken off the issue, to focus on a tidbit of outrage, an emotional appeal, or a slight of hand comment that is made out to be the fulcrum of someone’s character. This is less about a malfunctioning system and more about a populace who has no understanding of the fundamentals of how that system motivates the populace or accomplishes any positive change.
Take away all the distractions and you have petty partisanship, incredibly poor management of resources and power hungry people fulfilling agendas that do not better the commonwealth. These politicians and power brokers do not represent a constituency; they dictate policy to citizens, telling them what is best for America. Acclimation to their public offerings validates an absurd goal of sitting on the right side of history or creating change we can all believe in, all while vehemently using social media and the mainstream media to punctuate prejudice in the opposition.
America was born out of a desire for freedom from tyranny. Over the last decade, we have renamed the essence of freedom to include entitlements, subsidy, legislated morality, and the opportunity to liken anyone who would try to limit another American’s freedom to a Nazi, a xenophobe or another dubious distinction. Tyranny has become the tool of freedom.
Taxation without representation, foreign authority ruling the courts and a foreign occupying force holding presiding over colonial citizens embodies the tyranny of the founding father’s era. The current era has revealed people who study the present in search of relevance rather than study history in search of truth. We want to hear what celebrities think about political agendas more than we want to understand political philosopher’s insights into how groups of people are motivated to develop positive aspects of society.
As a result, enforcement of politicized ideologies and subjective moral goods within the populace has become the tyranny of our day. This is not in light of any philosophical understanding of statecraft, but in a petty, issue-mongering society, pitting American against American to the point of distraction and democratic impotence. Unlike many parents and grandparents in the 19th and 20th century who worked hard, developed opportunity and produced a legacy for their children greater than they were born into, the 21st century mindset believes in an ideological legacy, replacing tactile production with a conceptual social agenda that can never be satisfied and is constantly adapting to the current trend.
When posterity looks back on this period, it will see a people that thought so highly of themselves for what a great difference they were making day-to-day, that they lost sight of building toward a future that could be realized. If Americans keep fostering tyranny amidst its own people in the form of social agendas rather than looking at real outcomes, real impact areas and real, quantifiable financial metrics, we will lose the privilege we have been given to impact the world for the better.
Just as before, this election is about real outcomes. Supreme Court justices, continued failing foreign policy, uncontrollable national debt, 1/3 of the workforce still under/unemployed, social programs taking money from citizens to provide for non-citizens, a culture that murders nearly a million pre-birth (would be) citizens a year, etc.… This is a turning point for America, where America is what’s at stake; not the past, not an agenda, but a time where our current president succeeded in fundamentally redefining America: A house divided and falling.
If there is going to be a positive future, we have to get there together. Civil wars of political ideology, media outlets and partisan issues will never restore a union that makes the American dream a reality. Leaving a legacy of divisiveness will only lead to a dystopian future of instability and failure. America became great by being dependable for is stability and success. A weak and divided America cannot be a force for anything good in the world.
If we are going forward with real outcomes, America can once again become the united, stable and successful place it has ceased to be. If we are going to go forward in the economy of illusion, we will continue to focus on blame, instability and a lack of cooperation, while remaining divided to the point where the union is dissolved.
We the People must join together to develop a society that is truly united under principles that further opportunity and liberty for us all. Ratifying fringe agendas and naming ancillary rights as essential civil liberties only furthers the power of the current political class and entrenches us in a civil war of politicized strategy, disparaging feelings and a divided union. We must stand united at this time in our history, with the real outcomes in mind and a hope that greatness and stability will keep the American experiment alive.