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Sanders vs. Trump…

August 20, 2015

nightmare or Comedy Central? ….

I’ve seen a few crazy presidential elections over the years, and the build up for the 2016 race thus far may end up leading the pack, especially if one of those currently garnering most of the media attention wins the general election.

Excuse me. Are they still looking for immigrants to Mars?

George Washington cautioned about party politics, and we’ve spent the last 225 years or so verifying his foresight, just as we have spent the last 60 years verifying Eisenhower’s warnings about the “military-industrial” relationships that had grown accustomed to the fertile ground of WW2. The smart money says we are simply preparing to “repeat history”, something we tend to do almost ceremonially, like putting carved pumpkins on the doorstep in October and putting up Christmas decorations…well….in July.

According to the “polls“, which are only realistic in direct proportion to the skills of the statisticians who prepare them, and depending on what the ones getting airtime want to prove, Donald Trump is nearing beatification on one side of the moat and Bernie Sanders is wrestling Hillary Clinton for ownership of the opposite shore. Somewhere in between, bobbing about in the moat, are the citizens of the United States of America. If these men weren’t so scary, this would be the stand-up comedy coup of the century.


(holy crap; talk about mixed metaphors!)

 

Trump is the ultimate entertainer, largely because he loudly and boisterously shouts the thoughts non-billionaires to whom social skills still have value suppress or at least clothe in some civilities. Trump says whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and whatever will feed his need for rapt attention and obedience. He’s like the dog that ambles to the center of the living room, assumes the position, and proceeds to vigorously lick himself when the minister and his wife come to visit. Why? Because he can.

One could go on at great length about Trump’s shtick, but that, of course, is what powers him: “negative attention.” That is also why he is a successful business man and entertainer. He knows exactly how to work a crowd. I have serious reservations about how all of this would cash out on the global stage, however. The world has no shortage of erratic short fuses leading various countries at present, and the thought of one more in the quay vying for King of the Mountain causes me to reminisce about a neighbor back in the late fifties who had a steel-lined tube installed in his back yard and stocked it with everything he might need to survive for an extended period of time.

Interestingly enough, Trump is not necessarily an extremist in his politics, just in his theatrics. But I don’t see him functioning as a national and international leader without the heavy application of force and intimidation. He’s not a team player; he is. the team.

 

* * *

 

Way over on the other side of the proverbial human moat we have Sen. Bernie Sanders, and he is an extremist. In fact, he makes no bones about being a socialist, yet he tends to call himself an Independent, and he’s running for the Democratic nomination. We’ve lived with that sort of “sleight of glibness” for eight years and I’d prefer to see some regression with the newspeak and a president who inspires a little enthusiasm about the United States, and personal ambition, without being a nut case. Sen. Sanders offers none of that, and he is a nut case.

 

“Hope and change” by the people, not by fiat and Executive Order.

 

It troubles me that the populace, or at least the ones making the evening news, are lapping up The Donald Trump Show right now, but it doesn’t surprise me. Those of a more “conservative” leaning have been emaciated by eight years of an administration that prides itself on having usurped significant control over personal lives and public money. They like the theater of a man who may be extravagant, but at least he spends his own money. The mummified Congress needs no introduction.

Sanders appeals to those whom, while making a bit of a big deal about eschewing the excesses of the Religious Right, nevertheless practice and preach basic Christian altruism to a fault.

 

“You are your brother’s keeper,

and to that end,

I am going to spend YOUR money to take care of him.”

 
 

That, with an underlying aura of self righteous authoritarianism, is where and why Sen. Bernie Sanders, like his Republican counterpart, has attracted such attention. What scares me more than Sen. Sanders’ politics, however, is the people who think he’s the cat’s meow. No entertainment value here, folks. An awful lot of people are indicating that they view the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and especially the ideas behind them through a “that was then, this is now” filter. That sort of thing doesn’t bode well for tomorrow.

I go into more specifics about my concerns regarding Sen. Sanders, and Mr. Trump, elsewhere. The primary observation here is of how the rather significant polarity, extremity, and attendant viciousness of the 2016 campaign thus far mirrors much of the general public mood. All campaigns tend to be ugly, and those of today are tame compared to some that took place during the “youth” of our nation. At least gunfire and fistfights are passé. But the star players of today aren’t just heading for similar territory by different means. They seem to be heading in opposite directions.

The 2016 presidential election is starting to suggest a major test for our Democracy is building. There is an abyss of disunity in the atmosphere, and it is at such times that a meiosis-like break is most likely to occur and an air of “mob rule” stands to decide the direction we take.

 

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