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Train Wreck

October 10th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments
“May God help … our distracted country. I trust that good will come out of even this sad calamity.” Col. Elijah Hunt Rhodes, upon learning of the death of Lincoln, 1865
Before the 2016 presidential campaign started I was deeply cynical about American politics. My take on politics after a lifetime of following it was whoever lies in the most convincing fashion wins. There is no honor and little desire to advance the public good.
Then Bernie threw his hat in the ring. He was immediately dismissed by the establishment. Why? Because he is an honest politician who has always spoken up for the little guy. Because he is an honorable man who has the best interests of the nation at heart. You can say what you want about his policy proposals, which, in my view, are no more radical the FDR’s New Deal, but he is consistent and forthcoming and demonstrates a sincere desire to make America really great. The day Bernie announced I donated $10. I have never donated to a politician before, but I became an avid supporter. As his train embarked on an unpredictable wild run that scared the hell out of the establishment on both sides of the aisle, I was once again excited to be able to participate in politics. There was a possibility of real change for the better.
Bernie fought against unassailable forces. He went up against the entire political establishment, the press, the state party machines, all stacking the deck, sometimes illegally, against him. In the end, he couldn’t pull it off. And we were stuck with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Now I feel like a deer in the headlights. American politics has sunk to depths that are cringeworthy even for American politics. Our discourse has degenerated to talking about genitals, and defending confessed sexual assault. I have spoken to foreigners who are watching this election with horror. Believe it or not, even those countries that are critical of us still look to the US for leadership. And there is little to encourage them now.
And yet I can’t look away. It’s like watching a train wreck. Only the train that is being wrecked is American democracy.
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