Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Tragedy of 21st Century America

The long and agonizing political campaign leading to the Presidential election of 2016 is nearing its torturous end.  The candidates for the President – Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party and Donald Trump of the Republican Party could not hold more disparate political, economic and social points of view regarding the American future. 

For me, Donald Trump represents the antithesis of my worldview, my personal outlook and my political philosophy.  This election is like no other that I have ever experienced.  It is my conviction that it is an indicator of the tragedy of 21st century America.  The nation is dramatically polarized and the differences seem irreconcilable.

In my judgment, Donald Trump has managed to give credence to all the fears, disappointments, feelings of personal inadequacy and sense of rage that have been festering within the minds of those who find his message appealing.  He has opened up a Pandora’s Box within the national psyche.  The repressed feelings and personal conclusions that have found release reflect the endemic racism, prejudice, sexism and xenophobia that have haunted the American scene since its very inception.  They represent exceedingly volatile feelings of resentment and personal inadequacy within this rapidly changing modern world of humans held for so long by a significant portion of the American population especially within the white male community.  Furthermore, it was the national ascendancy of a remarkably intelligent and successful Black man as President that more than likely helped reignite these perceptions.

In fact, the American system of education and American-style capitalism have failed this population completely.  As a consequence, they feel left-behind and disposable within an economic system that regards nearly everything as a commodity to be exploited. 

What is currently unfolding in American life is reminiscent of what occurred in pre-World War II Germany.  Adolph Hitler found scapegoats for the economic and social malaise that gripped Germany during that era in the Jews, Gypsies and the Communists.  For Donald Trump, the “villains” have been identified as the Immigrants and the Muslims for the most part.

Whatever side manages to become “victorious” in this election will not prove to have any curative value in regards to the sickness that haunts this country.  These forces, once unleashed, cannot be contained or restrained any longer.  There is a new norm that is arising on the political scene that is quite unsettling.

In spite of any well-meaning optimism, America is not the country we would like to envision and probably never has been.  Historically it is a nation steeped in feelings of intense racism, an endemic fear of difference and a mistaken and severely overblown sense of exceptionalism within the world arena.

America seems to possess all the hallmarks of a civilization on the decline.  It has become a bloated militaristic state with a well-armed citizenry where the economic spoils are going to an exceedingly small proportion of the population leaving a huge wave of deprivation in its wake.  Ironically, the person chosen to soothe the angst of those that have felt abandoned is exactly the person that has taken full advantage of his position of wealth that is at the root of the nation’s ills. 

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