I am utterly sick of the US election and can’t wait it to be over. It has become so incredibly ugly and the downward spiral seems to have no end. And I am scared. I don’t want to be held “in suspense” any longer.
The choice for the American voter should be easy even if each appears to have a sour taste.
In any case the outcome has grave consequences for everyone connected to this world. Think of gradual devastation by climate change or sudden by (at worst) nuclear war.
Bread and Circuses
For a long time I have seen parallels between our period in history and the end of the Roman Empire. I even encouraged my son to become a professional in the wider entertainment industry to have job prospects for life. The bread and circuses of the Romans were the last device to keep the masses in the crumbling empire docile.
Looking around us today we see the same things happening. Serious discourse about serious issues like the economy, the environment, politics are displaced by entertainment. You only have to look at New Zealand’s two main TV channels where narcissistic ignorant clowns are hosting current affairs programmes. The ratings indicate that the great unwashed crowd is loving it.
This is the result of a deliberate policy by neoliberal elites. In the US and other countries following the neoliberal doctrine like New Zealand the public education system has been gradually defunded. Underpaid teachers are under constant attack not the least as they are still unionised. The result is a lesser and lesser educated citizenry, that for instance does not know history and therefore does not understand the context of the problems facing us.
Another example of our neo-liberal government dumbing down public discourse was the scrapping of the state broadcaster’s charter as one of it’s first acts after coming to power. The public broadcaster was turned fully commercial with no more obligation to true in depth journalism and informing the public.
The ultimate result of creating an uneducated ignorant citizenry can be observed by the regression of US presidents from Reagan to Bush junior to now Trump. The trajectory points even lower.
While we are distracted by the media and other circuses the serious problems are festering on.
To start with the big one with the most serious consequence for us all. A Trump presidency would set back the global effort by years. This is of the gravest concern as time is of the essence. Other more localised environmental issues fair no better.
Again the widely uneducated uninformed masses don’t seem to care. How else can a climate change denier who threatens to rip up all the international climate treaties come close to winning the US presidency? And again the media are not doing their job to thoroughly research and report on the issue affecting all of us.
The burning economic and political problem of neo-liberalism is never mentioned by name during the campaign. However one of the leading candidates, Bernie Sanders, with his policies on closing the growing rich-poor gap, free public education and globalisation raised awareness and shifted the positions of the finalists.
Like on climate change there seems to be a stark choice on globalisation between the candidates. The outcome will affect all trading nations.
War and international Conflicts
It seems that Hillary Clinton poses a greater risk to world peace than her counterpart. This is explainable by the fact that as a woman in a men’s world she cannot possibly be seen as weak. From her record she rather seeks confrontation than walk away from a dangerous situation.
We have seen 25 years of US led Western aggression against Russia. After the end of the Soviet Union and their dream of world revolution there was hope for co-operation and a so called ‘peace dividend’. We meant to save on military spending as the “communist threat” had disappeared. However the Western military/industrial complex or arms industry did not want a bar of it. Against all promises made when Gorbatsjov allowed German re-unification Nato expanded eastward right to the Russian border. New weapon systems directed at Russia were deployed. Former Soviet republics were enticed to join or align with anti Russian alliances. And right now we are in the midst of an anti Russian/Putin propaganda war.
In Georgia and Ukraine where Russia was defending it’s self-interest direct confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers was avoided. Now in the Syrian war where both US and Russian airforces are operating on opposite sites there is a risk of direct confrontation and military exchange. Even more so as Clinton threatens to impose a no-fly zone.
The threat of a nuclear war is real. Remember at the last direct confrontation during the Cuban missile crisis only the cool heads in Moscow saved us from nuclear armageddon.
Candidate Trump’s approach to international security seems be more isolationist more like the Mafia business model. If you want protection you have to pay for it. Otherwise the US are not interested.
US government & political System
For a very long time the US political system has moved away from a democracy. As former US president Jimmy Carter noted ‘The U.S. Isn’t A Democracy, It’s An Oligarchy’.
A system that declares corporations to be persons to be allowed to influence the political process when they are not allowed to vote is deeply flawed.
One candidate claims that the elections are rigged and he is correct on so many levels from election finance to voter suppression in many federal states to blatant gerrymandering. All of which generally favour the Republicans.
The US neo-liberal political system is broken, not fit for purpose, kaputt. Against all evidence to the contrary it relies on the fiction that there is an informed rational electorate able to make decisions in their interest. I have been saying all along that not Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton are the problem but the American electorate, which in great part has gone crazy with justified anger. Filmmaker Michael Moore in TrumpLand (last night on TV One) explains it well. Democracy cannot work if you use you vote as an “anger management tool”.
We should not even be talking about Trump in political terms but instead in medical terms like in Narcissism named after the Greek mythological figure Narcissus.
Imagine the day after the election a crazed candidate unable to accept that he lost is arrested running down New Yorks’s 5th Avenue trying to shoot someone to prove his prediction that he will not lose even one vote by shooting someone in broad daylight. Then the term “Trumpism” will be coined for people suffering from the mental disorder that they are “winners” who cannot ever accept losing. Think of Monty Python’s Black Knight.
Imagine the very real prospect of a man in the oval office influencing the world economy and climate with his finger on the nuclear button who is not able to believe that he could ever lose.
We must be in “Scary Movie 16”.