With sadness I watched and listened to the 4th televised debate by Republican Party hopefuls for the 2016 election. There was talk of healthcare; there was specific talk of tearing down Obamacare and of replacing it with a free market system. There was much talk of the importance of military strength and claims that without it the US would have no influence in the world. This talk, this machismo talk of strutting about the Middle East and Afghanistan teaching the inhabitants how to live was endorsed over and over under the guise of making the US great again.
One has to wonder if the US was ever great. It has enjoyed many years of military and industrial might – the two so closely intertwined as to be impossible to distinguish one from the other – but it was never great in the sense of the Roman, and British Empires, or even the world of Islam. It has been great in having the highest prison population in the world, and in being way ahead of any other nation in gun related homicides but there has never been any sign of an honorable culture – of a nation with values, with a conscience. It is a free-for-all society devoid of humanitarian values with little respect for its own authorities. Police abuse citizens, pupils abuse their teachers, children sue their parents and lawyers play memory games before judges when deciding the fate of their clients. Members of Congress openly defied the President by directly communicating with a foreign government offering opposition to his policy and later inviting a foreign head of state to address the US Congress. Such disrespect in any other nation comes under the heading of treason – as in aiding the enemy.
There was too talk of God, the Christian one was implied by reference to the Bible which was noted as making more sense than the tax code – An odd analogy. Israel, and the need to support that nation, came up in between mentions of the Bible but there were no quotes from it. The importance of family too was spoken of along with the American dream. Family, the Bible, and the American dream are usually synonymous with the National Rifle Association to protect where God fails but such references were absent.
There was no talk of education, long established as the first responsibility of government, because, one has to speculate, US primary and secondary education standards are the worst of all the first world countries. The consequences of such poor administration were there, standing on that stage, in all their arrogant ignorance.
The US is not great – never has been. It could be because there are lots of good people there. There are more Franklin Roosevelts and Barack Obamas out there but they are not to be found on stage competing like beauty queens; such indignities are reserved for thick skinned politicos who care not of what they do but of how they are perceived. Sophists all – not one among them cares about the people who are the Americans, about the people working fifty hour weeks barely making ends meet; about the people who cannot afford extraordinary dentist bills for perfect, straight teeth, outrageous college fees that become lifetime burdens. No America was not, and is not, great.
People who care are to be found in hospitals and research centres, in charities and learning centres, in aid programs and among the volunteers who help those too needy to be recognized by any other means. These are people whose American Dreams are based not on accumulating assets and protecting them with guns and lawyers – these are people who seek to improve life for everyone with cures for cancer, renewable energy, higher education, and wise administration. I saw no wisdom on the stage of the 4th Republican Party convention. I saw only fear and greed – unashamed, blinkered and rampant.