Friday, February 26, 2016
Politics as theatrics (and please, give us a grown up for a candidate)
The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed today about the rancor of Roman politics. The author focused on the tactics of the extraordinary orator, Cicero, and the theater of politics centuries before Christ, and millenniums before Trump/Sanders, et. al. The author posited that nothing has changed in that regard, except in the modern era our social media is instant and ubiquitous, whereas theirs was tempered by the slow slog of their times.
No doubt, those Roman citizens were more preoccupied with finding their next meal unlike us worrying whether "Trump has a healthcare plan" or "Sanders' spending is realistic" or what else Hillary has hidden from us.
So about the GOP presidential debates: Take Trump out (please) of last night's Houston debate on CNN, and the entire dynamic changes. The debates would still be sharp, intense, but for certain, more intellectual and less childish. A Tumpless debate would still feature worthy verbal combat, but it might help sort out winners from whiners.
Unless Trump triumphs (which to me is worse than Saddam Hussain rising from the dead) and wins the nomination, I believe the GOP/Democrat campaign debates next fall will be more civil, but even more intense, intended to draw political blood from the contestants. I don’t think it’s hard to imagine what Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio would be saying about Mrs. Clinton. And she already has her playbook at hand on whomever emerges from the GOP field.
A lot is at stake in this election - maybe even the survival of liberty in the United States, and civil order in the world. I teach my American Government students that those artificial lines in the sand we call state borders are nothing more than that – lines in the sand. The U.S. could “Balkanize” overnight. You might want to start planning where you would move, but I'm pretty sure I’d end up in the Republic of Texas.
There is great and grave danger in the world. This, too, is predictable. Prophets told us about it millenniums ago. Whom we pick for President of the United States in 2016 may see a rebirth of freedom, or the acceleration of grave trouble.
Our challenge is to see through the theater and understand the character of the actors, and from that, predict what they will do to preserve liberty.