A Tale of Two Worlds

obama

While Canada’s prime minister was being feted in Washington, the Republican presidential finalists were butting heads in Miami.  The contrast was staggering.

Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama (photo above) are obviously birds of a feather, true believers, messengers of hope and advocates of positive change.

They share a world vision based on inclusiveness, compassion and brotherhood.

The Republican candidates  are also birds of a feather – a completely different kind of plumage, though.

In their debate last night, they shared a range of policies based on hate and fear, cynicism and selfishness.

It was a different kind of debate from their previous shouting matches. This time they actually talked policy instead of trading personal insults. It was revealing – and sobering.

IMarco-Rubio think the debate’s defining moment was when Marco Rubio (at right) explained how his unskilled parents were welcomed to America but that was then, this is now. Yes, now that he and his are here, there’s no room for others, bar the door.

That kind of me-first  thinking was evident throughout the debate. And that was not its most terrifying aspect. In a night that ripped the mask off the Republican Party’s grim face, the candidates vied with each other in promising a meaner, tougher, no-holds-barred America.

They even discussed strategies to get around international laws against torturing prisoners of war and targeting civilians.

The candidates revealed that Social Security would be destined for change if any of them became President, and they all agreed that America’s tax dollars should go first to the military, not to the old, the hungry or the sick.

Under any one of them, America’s military would be a terrifying force and they would use it to bully the rest of the world, so that Americans could rule supreme and take whatever global resources they want.

There were minor differences of course. But while the candidates disagreed on strategy, their goals were remarkably similar.

They envisage a mighty and ruthless America, accepting only those immigrants who would be useful to the economy and rejecting those who need help most desperately.

In this America, you could forget about civil rights and social safety nets. There would be no room for “political correctness” or “nanny government.”

It would be a tough, uncompromising America, in which workers would have to wait more years before retiring and the sick would have to fend for themselves. Individual states would be left to provide what education they wanted to – however and  to whomever they saw fit.

The old would be forced to keep working and children would probably sell matches in the street as they did in the days of Dickens.

As Republicans see it, we live in a merciless, hate-filled world where might is right and compassion is weakness. And we should just deal with it.

As for me, I prefer the kinder, gentler vision of Obama and Trudeau.

Click for more on the debate.

More on Trudeau’s visit.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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