There is no real debate in American politics, only polemics. Exaggerating the benefits of one side of an issue and ignoring or deprecating the other side – that’s what everyone does. And it’s depressing.
But that is what the media want. And, presumably, that is what theireaders and viewers want.
Equally disheartening are the sacred cows. America’s troops, for example, must always be referred to as the greatest in the world – the greatest in history.
I tend to believe that the troops reflect the population at large as just about anyone who is physically fit and not palpably insane can enlist. There’s supposed to be a ban on felons, but increasingly felons are getting waivers to sign up.
Yes, there are heroes in the armed forces. Of course they deserve appreciation and honor. But – as in the population at large – some are better than others.
And as for the population at large…
According to the candidates, we are the most noble, hard working and perceptive folks on the planet. We are “exceptional,” whatever that’s supposed to mean.
But, obviously, that’s not universally true.
We are – like any other population – a mixed bag. Some of us are admirable, some not so much.
And it seems there are a lot more of the “not so much” than I thought.
What kind of person yearns for a President who would have employed “the full force” of the American military against Iran when the Revolutionary Guard detained those 10 American sailors?
That’s what Ted Cruz (above, right) says he would have done.
Imagine that! Picture those missile silos in the American desert spewing their deadly contents to incinerate the Iranians. Imagine how Iran’s ally, Russia, would have responded. Imagine Armageddon.
Today, the sailors are free and the Iranians are going on with their lives because cooler heads prevailed.
Who are these bloodthirsty Americans that yearn for war? Who are these Americans that would abolish food stamps? That would launch another invasion of Iraq? That would make children go hungry and deprive the sick of health care?
What drives them?
Donald Trump (above, left) says it’s “anger.” He implies it’s a righteous anger. But I suspect the driving force behind his popularity (and that of his closest rival for the Republican nomination) is nothing so wholesome.
I believe many of the Americans who support candidates like Trump and Cruz are driven by resentment and spite. I picture them as mean spirited, creepy creatures who have been so severely damaged by life that they want only to see others suffer too. And I pity them.
I do not pity Trump or Cruz. I despise them.
They are dangerous demagogues who prey upon the emotionally scarred, seeking power by appealing to the most deplorable human instincts.
A public forum that encourages polemics and media that thrive on “controversy” enable such base tactics and diminish one of the greatest societies in history.
What America needs now is more light and less heat as the nation tries to work out the best path forward in a complex and fast changing world. America needs responsible and carefully considered debate, not polemics.
And America certainly does not need the likes of Trump or Cruz.