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.