Monday, September 19, 2016

Has the 2016 Election Debased America?

That's "debase" in the sense of lower the moral quality, degrade, cheapen, discredit, tarnish.

We all sensed that America was on a new path when it elected the buffoon, George w. Bush. Ditto when the American people actually elected him the second time around.

This year Americans are gearing up to select a new president, choosing between two candidates neither of whom is even liked.

On one hand you've got the Orange Behemoth who daily demonstrates that his presidential attributes are limited to racism, misogyny, shocking ignorance and a pathological aversion to truth in any form. On the other hand you have Hillary who, while competent enough, is simply not very likeable.

Yet today Trump is closing in on Hillary in the polls and an increasing number of pundits are warning he could in fact win in November. Who are these Americans who think a guy like Trump should be their president, the erstwhile leader of the "free world" (whatever that is today)?

In a way it feels like we've just been warned of an approaching asteroid but no one is sure if it's going to hit us or just give us a damn good scare. We won't know until election night whether the world as we knew it has ended or it was just a near miss.

Either way, when the sun rises on November 9, America will be a different place. Even a win for Hillary won't be a reset to America as it was. All countries change from one generation to the next but America has undergone pretty seismic changes since the Reagan era and the rise of neoliberalism, oligarchy and corporatism vanquishing the middle class and undermining their democracy. The Hillary/Trump squabble is just another chapter in this decline which has shown itself a true work in progress.

When the dust settles, Trump's "deplorables" may have cemented their control of the Republican Party. Even if they don't there'll still be some sort of civil war as the Republican establishment struggles hard to reclaim their party. One way or the other, somebody is leaving.

And what of us? How will outsiders see America the morning after? The appearance of stability is largely gone. It's no longer reliable, trustworthy. It's become something else but what isn't clear. Like the mouse in bed with the elephant, a little uncertainty can go an awfully long way.


Dana said...

I'm not certain it matters which pariah gets elected any more. The divisions have become too deep and intractable.

Lorne said...

Watching the American landscape is a lot like watching a movie based on a dystopian novel, Mound. As such novels show, there is rarely a happy ending.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of your politics and feelings; the Obama Presidency has been hogtied since he was sworn in.
I have no doubt that this is the new politic of the USA and to an extent the western world.
It is likely the USA will continue to be dysfunctional whoever wins.
I have to wonder how the losing side will react after the election!


The Mound of Sound said...

Yeah, Dana, everybody's talking and nobody's listening. The national dialogue is consumed with differences and wilfully excluding common ground. I don't know how long a nation, if it is to remain a democracy, can survive that dysfunction.

The Mound of Sound said...

The nice thing about movies, Lorne, is that we can almost always figure out the ending. This is scarier, far more so.

The Mound of Sound said...

TB, the US is enduring the social fever that accompanies political capture and the gradual demise of democracy. When it becomes inescapable that you're ruled by a "bought and paid for" political caste, how can a citizen be connected with his/her government? You can't. You've been ostracized, allowed to vote but to no good end. Eventually you succumb or rise up.

the salamander said...

.. voting with no resulting representation .. there's an interesting 'proposition' .. Its an odd thing to consider. I often wondered about those who voted in Calgary, formRob Anders.. or those who elected Julian Fantino, Vic Toews or Paul Calandra.. Did they actually admire those absolute creeps? Or was there some sort of magic spell.. or mass vote hysteria at riding levels. I'm sure there are also ludicrous MP's within Liberal & NDP ranks, but within my living memory, nothing can touch the Harper contagion.

The US of A election is different but just another creepy crawly neolithic or cretaceous tar creature.. with a truly disturbed two party system & the population declaring as one or the other, essentially in advance or at birth or at high school proms or bssed on their parents heritage, or state lines or the phases of Jupiters moons.. with the vaunted 'Media' stirring the pot & cackling like MacBeth's toothless but dangerous witches.

Well, garbage in - garbage out .. and we get what 'we' deserve .. garbage.. contaminated garbage

crf said...

Politicians need to stand up to bullies.

Tim Hudak didn't stand up to the bullies in his own party. Ontario voters thought he was a wimp and punished his party.

Obama did not rally his party to stand up to the torture enablers of the Bush era. Those bullies are still there, waiting in the wings, set to press the resume button at the still open GITMO.

Obama did not stand up to the bullies in the US Senate who refused to consider his nominee (Garland) for the Supreme court. He's risking setting a precedent for there never being another nomination considered in an election year.

The US Republican leadership did not stand up to the bullying tea-party Trumpkins. Now George H.W. Bush isn't even going to vote Republican.

At least Clinton is going after Trump. Whatever her bad qualities are (PLENTY!) at least she is calling him out for encouraging bullying at his rallies, his demeaning reporters, and his various abuses of power as a businessman.