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Election campaigns in America used to be about educating the voters on opposing ideas; now it seems the campaign is about telling the voters opposing ideas should be eliminated.
There was a time in American politics when the parties nominated and selected the best candidates. Today’s Republican Party’s nominees seem to be the worst group of candidates one can imagine.
It is not the issues that I am talking about; it is the narrowness of their worldviews and the obvious disconnect from the realities of today’s world.
The Republican candidates don’t seem to comprehend the solidarity of interest which hold our society together nor understand that the friction caused by the interaction of competing elements and ideas creates the dynamic vitality of our pluralistic society.
In the 1948 Republican primary in Oregon, a debate between two candidates, was broadcast nationally. It was a one-hour debate. There was only one question: Should the Communist Party in the United States be outlawed? 60 million Americans, 41% of the population, listened in.
In 1948 the Communist Party was viewed as the most real and present danger facing the United States. Yet the candidates held an intelligent discussion of American ideas and the nature of our freedom. Can you imagine the current crop in such a discussion? Would you expect anything but sound bites about anchor babies and Obamacare?
Has anyone ever listened to how articulate and comprehensive the late Harry Browne expressed certain principles of libertarianism that are vital in a free society? Compare Harry Browne’s intellect to Ron Paul’s incessant whining that neither economic theory nor the U.S. Constitution is being followed by Congress. Paul’s narrow view of what the Constitution says relies on his opinion alone and ignores the fact that this country has already decided in 1819 (McCulloch v. Maryland) his narrow interpretation is wrong. And Ron Paul forgets the fact that this is a government of the people, for the people, by the people, and not a government of economists, for economic theory, by the free market.
During the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover based on principles articulated at the time, believed the economy would soon recover without the need for the government to intervene. Hoover was elected based on his well-earned reputation as a humanitarian, having saved millions in Europe from starvation after World War I. Hoover turned out to be mistaken, but he was not without compassion. Compare that with the “let them eat cake” attitude toward the unemployed expressed by Howard Cain.
There was a time in America that if someone thought Paul Revere rode to warn the British, that person would not have graduated the fifth grade. Now such a person can be promoted to the second spot on a Republican presidential ticket.
I have never met in my entire life anyone who said, as Michele Bachmann has, that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery. Or when slaves arrived in the United States they were treated like anybody else. This is incredible stupidity and quite unnerving when one realizes these statements come from a United States Congresswoman.
But the scary fact about these candidates is not simply that one of them may someday be president. The real disturbing truth is that they are all leaders in today’s society. Some are in congress, some are governors, and some are business leaders. It isn’t likely that these few are exceptions; more likely is that they and others like them are the rule.
Thus there is little wonder that our institutions are unresponsive when led by similar minds as these politicians. All the signs that like-minded individuals as these permeate society: bank failures through reckless trading and fraudulent deals; religious leaders concerned about gay puppets or hiding their sexual scandals; role-model athletes using illegal performance-enhancing drugs; a collapsing infrastructure and economy.
If he were around today, Paul Revere would surely have a lot to warn us about.
The fault, dear Americans, is not in our politicians, but in ourselves, that we have become a nation of underlings.
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