Thursday, August 04, 2016

The Decay of American Politics

Andrew Bacevich has a scathing article on how far our politics have descended in the past sixty years. For example:
  • In 1956, each of the major political parties nominated a grown-up for the highest office in the land. In 2016, only one has. 
  • In 1956, both parties nominated likeable individuals who conveyed a basic sense of trustworthiness. In 2016, neither party has done so. 
  • In 1956, Americans could count on the election to render a definitive verdict, the vote count affirming the legitimacy of the system itself and allowing the business of governance to resume.
Like many of us, he doesn't like either candidate. "So while a Trump presidency holds the prospect of the United States driving off a cliff, a Clinton presidency promises to be the equivalent of banging one’s head against a brick wall without evident effect, wondering all the while why it hurts so much."

Money has played a big role in our decline. "Political life has increasingly become a pursuit reserved for those like Trump who possess vast personal wealth or for those like Clinton who display an aptitude for persuading the well to do to open their purses, with all that implies by way of compromise, accommodation, and the subsequent repayment of favors."

But we have contributed. “The American citizen lives in a world where fantasy is more real than reality, where the image has more dignity than its original. We hardly dare to face our bewilderment, because our ambiguous experience is so pleasantly iridescent, and the solace of belief in contrived reality is so thoroughly real. We have become eager accessories to the great hoaxes of the age. These are the hoaxes we play on ourselves.”

1 comment:

R J Adams said...

One can rely on A.J.B. for a good and incisive read.