…what sort of country it wants to be when it grows up.
Does it want to try to be that “shining city on a hill”, a beacon of hope and freedom and opportunity?
Or does it want to be a hypocritical, bullying imperial power, dominated domestically by mean-spirited, nativist behaviors?
The USA is a young country in relative world terms, constituted by a bunch of smart people 240+ years ago. It currently behaves like an an adolescent. Adolescents have boundless energy and ideas. They also think they know it all, and they won’t listen to anybody who looks older. The USA is that adolescent. As a country, the USA shows a pathetic level of genuine curiosity about how things get done elsewhere. Some of us like to travel and act like tourists, but tourists go everywhere, see a lot, and understand almost none of it. The rest of us sit close to home, getting a cartoon heroes vs villains worldview from TV and cable channels. As a result, many people are voting today without any clear idea or understanding of the underlying issues facing the USA. Many people are signed on to cockanamie conspiracy theories, dystopian binary fantasizing (Vote XXX or the country is Doomed!) and all manner of odd ideas that cannot be supported by facts.Countries are never perfect, and countries that rise to #1 in the world eventually fall back again. History teaches us that. At some point the USA will be overtaken by other countries. This does not mean that the USA will cease to exist and suddenly become inconsequential. It took us a fair amount of time to rise to #1, and the decline, if it has begun, will be slow.
America is a nation of immigrants (even the First Nations people, who seem to have arrived via the Bering Land Bridge). The rapid growth to world dominance of the United States was fuelled by the energy, drive and enterprise of waves of immigrants who continue to arrive to this day. Unfortunately, a lot of people currently want to pull up the Welcome mat. There are understandable reasons why, but reinvention of countries and rejuvenation of countries is always triggered by human migrations. Another thing that history teaches us.
Right now the US is #1 in a lot of things, including GDP, and defense spending. We’re not #1 in some other areas, most notably healthcare. Those issues are fixable, but denial never fixes issues. On the other hand, dystopian fantasizing about the Global Conspiracies against the USA, and the identification of internal enemies, won’t address issues either. That mindset is exactly what led to the Second World War. History pointer number three.
People need to think about what the future of the country should be. We live in an interconnected world. Time does not run backwards. The past is indeed gone for ever. There is a reason why historians call The Golden Age a fallacy. It was never a Golden Age. As a species we have an uncanny ability to remember mostly good stuff and forget about bad stuff. It actually serves us well most of the time, but sometimes it doesn’t. There is good reason to beware anybody who promises to turn the clock back. That can never happen.
Decisions made in anger are usually poor decisions. Many of the voters expressing opinions this election cycle are voting negatively (the lesser of two evils approach). You wouldn’t pick a life partner on the basis of selecting the least horrible one. We shouldn’t be doing the same for voting preferences.
I also believe that arguments based on “left or right”, “liberal or conservative” are based on outdated fallacious binary language promulgated by the mass media, and everybody would do well to stop buying into those sorts of false dichotomies. Binary thinking is for computers, not societal and governance issues.
The political landscape in the USA is dangerous and toxic today. We have elected representatives and candidates quite seriously suggesting that opponents should be arrested and jailed, and in some cases executed. This is not the rhetoric of mature people operating in a representative democracy. This is seditious, third world bully-boy posturing. It needs to be called by those names, and the people engaging in that behavior need to be ejected from the process and told to not come back until they learn to behave a lot better.
We also have a lot of people arguing from memes and slogans. That’s not argument. It’s rote repetition of somebody else’s simplistic, often bullshit view of a complex issue. If you argue in memes and slogans, that’s somebody else’s voice, not yours. We also have a lot of people expressing views that are varying combinations of racist and/or anti-Semitic. Personally, I avoid those kinds of people. However, they are symptomatic of a deeper underlying dystopian worldview that many less fortunate people in the USA have acquired over time. I would need a doctoral thesis to adequately explain how that came about, but the move to the post-Industrial age in the USA, which has removed economic stability and growth from many areas, is one underlying cause.
Complex societal problems require complex strategies, not quick flashy band-aids. There is a lot of shouting in the USA, and little substantive debate. Many people have stopped listening this election cycle, and I have been dismayed to see intelligent people on my Facebook timeline abandoning all pretense of logical and critical thinking as they line up behind Their Guys. This sort of approach is not a good indicator for how the USA can address issues. Everybody needs to stop emoting and start thinking and listening.
Most of you made up your minds long ago. I have nothing to offer in the way of input on voting choices.
I also don’t have much to say about my likely voting choices, except that I lean Libertarian. However, I believe I know which of the two major party candidates for POTUS is better qualified and temperamentally suited to leading the USA, and it’s not a four-times bankrupt, narcissistic, bullshitting rabble-rouser and carnival barker from Queens. There are over 150 candidates for POTUS. Don’t tell me you don’t have choices. You simply need to be able to do some research.
Just VOTE. A high turnout cements the legitimacy of winners.
America eventually has to decide…
…what sort of country it wants to be when it grows up.