Politics, American Style
By: Jack L. Key
Politics. Just the look and sound of the word grates on me. When I was young, my parents taught me never to hate. But I canâ€™t help it.
I hate politics.
This is just the American version. The British version is probably just as bad, not far removed from ours. The European and Asian versions can be worse, if thatâ€™s possible. Theyâ€™ve killed each other over their particular versions. Not once, but several times. Not to be outdone, now itâ€™s the Middle Eastâ€™s turn. And weâ€™ve let religion creep into the mix, God help us.
For a while there when I was young, I was slightly amused by the swift political changes occurring south of our borders. The â€œBanana Republicsâ€ seemed to change rulers, political parties (and even borders) every other week. Then there were some serious â€œshooting warsâ€ down there, and I quit laughing. Especially when our own politicians sent in the marines and we began to get shot up for our meddling in other peopleâ€™s miserable politics as well.
Then there were the political comedies of the South Americans. One even became a hit Broadway Musical. Evita Peron and Argentina lit up the drab New York City alleyways and byways and made us believe even Dictators had hearts.
But in the early to middle 20th century the entire world became entangled in two of the most horrendous political acts of all time. Millions and millions died in the world wars that followed.
The first was the â€œRoyal Cousinsâ€ disagreement, better known as World war One.
The old Royal Families of Europe began to argue among themselves about the way the European map was drawn. But when the argument was finished, so were the Royal families (with a few exceptions), the borders of Europe redrawn, and millions of lives lost. The political winners were Hitler and Lenin, although they would have their own reckonings to deal with later in the century.
The political wrangling over the gold standard, world currencies, trade and isolationism led to joblessness and worldwide hunger and the world financial depression of the 1920â€™s and â€˜30â€™s. That caused millions more to die. But it set the stage for Hitler and his maniacs to rape Europe before finally being raped themselves.
The fascists in Italy and the militarists in Japan could not help themselves from such easy pickings and joined in the murdering and pillaging. That became World War Two and killed more people in 6 long years of warfare than had died in all the political wars since mankind had lived on the planet. Then came the atomic age and the great failed political experiment called the United Nations.
And so now we come to our â€œmodern American politics.â€
When I was 9 years old, WWII ended. Since then Iâ€™ve watched the evolution of politics in this country. If evolution is what it was. Barely 5 years after the end of the most horrible period in the history of the world, we entered into what I call â€œthe patti-cake political periodâ€. The Korean-Chinese â€œconflictâ€ erupted for 3 hard years, called â€œTrumanâ€™s Warâ€ and then stopped with just a â€œpolitical settlementâ€ or truce.
In fact it has never ended, and 54 years later we are technically still â€œat warâ€ in Korea.
Then came Vietnam and the American Democratic Partyâ€™s biggest political blunder in the history of the United States. The fiasco cost 58,000 young Americans killed and thousands more wounded or maimed. President John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson began and sustained a â€œconflictâ€ without reason and no hope or desire for winning. Political management of the undeclared â€œwarâ€ almost caused a civil insurrection in this country and the military was close to rebellion.
After one embarrassment after another Republican President Richard M. Nixon finally bombed the North Vietnamese into submission and the USA left the country to the communists where it remains today. The only American winners in the conflict was the Washington â€œinsidersâ€ who remained firmly embedded in their own comfortable and feathered â€œnestsâ€ and waited for the next debacle to begin.
Political â€œhacksâ€ and other similar fools and lawyers have now successfully divided the country into two political camps that detest each other and are fundamentally polarized. Politicians in Washington have regressed to playing childrenâ€™s games with our laws, our money, our welfare and the lives of our families. American politicians are 98% from the legal profession and the remaining 2 % are from movies and television, military and business, mental institutions and the Internet.
Presidential elections over the past 4 decades have almost become divided civilian warfare. The open hatred of sitting President George W. Bush and Vice-President Cheney exhibited by the Democratic leftist politicians and liberal public has made me ashamed of the country for the first time in my life. This political animosity, boorish behavior, bad manners and extremely bad taste seems purely American. The world laughs behind our backs as we lecture others about democracy and peace, decency, and the pride of the human sprit.
Just look at the rhetoric that has been going on now with presidential candidates a year and a half away from the election. Watch the elected child representatives in Congress at playtime. What we have endured in the past is nothing compared to what we will have to endure in 2008 and beyond.
If the country survives.
Others watch us, some hopefully, some fearfully, wondering whether we will wipe ourselves out this time around. Does anyone doubt the survival of the fittest is at hand? The only clear winners in these â€œpolitical warsâ€ are the television networks and print media.
Am I the only sane person in the country who knows the media empires planned it that way from the beginning and could care less who gets hurt in the process? The vast â€œcampaign money chestsâ€ that contain billions of dollars are the end property of the media owners and corporate stockholders (after some laundering and pilfering by candidates and political parties).
When the founding fathers were writing the constitution they envisioned great things for our democracy and the elective process. Now if you have a loud mouth, a few gimmicks, bad ideas and lots of money, itâ€™s a done deal.
In this upcoming presidential election, we have a white female socialist and a black male socialist and some rich guys in the Democratic mix for the first time. The best the Republicans can do is an ex-mayor during 9/11, an ex-senator and actor, a senator and ex-Navy pilot, and several other rich guys.
Will wonders never cease?
Jack L. Key is a free lance writer and the author of â€œGideonâ€s Trumpetâ€, a novel of war and peace in the 21st century. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org