Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Spiritually empty, our dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives is playing out in national politics.
I am not alone in finding several aspects of the current politics of disrespect astounding. One is the lack of courage within mainstream Republican leadership. Wouldn't it have been honorable if Paul Ryan simply refused to speak at the Republican convention? Ryan is in his own struggle to maintain his leadership position. Why jeopardize his position by alienating a possible future president? Because the times could have benefited from refusal to participate in the sham. Powerful Republicans have forgotten the meaning of leadership. This is an opportunity for the courageous among them to reformulate the party toward a new, more forgiving base. But courage takes practice and current leadership is incapable of reaching across the aisle in the face of opposition. So courage has not become their habit. Instead, "leadership" has largely decided to take the path of appeasement. Appeasement never works. Ask Neville Chamberlain.
Astounding is the equally base level of behavior we are witnessing among the delegates. I see no distinction between Chris Christie and his misogynistic chant "Lock her up" and those who chanted back. The delegates had a choice whether to participate in the chant just as Ryan had a choice whether to attend. Trumpers receive no satisfaction in confronting the opposition on policy matters. She must be criminalized.
And today a Trump adviser said that Hillary Clinton should be put in the front of a firing line and shot for treason. Dangerous language, particularly in light of the current wave of anti-government police shootings.
The media could assist by pointing out the hatefulness of such attacks and not simply report them as "news". For Donald Trump supporters, disagreement seems to be an act of war that calls for the destruction of the opponent.
Future sociologists, historians and economists will need to sort out for us precisely where we failed our country. But the tide seems to have shifted from disgruntled to dangerous. We are lost people.