I think, as my elementary school gym teacher used to say, “we’ve had a failure to communicate.” Whether it was an error of English on my part or a bout of quick reading on yours, I cannot say for sure. It actually doesn’t really matter. Nevertheless, in the opening lines of my previous writing, I wasn’t trying to say that you’re politically biased. In fact, I was trying to say the exact opposite. I know from many conversations we’ve had – both privately and in the forum of the classroom – that you’re not someone with an inherent political slant.
Most people I come in contact with are what I would consider “biased.” When I use that word, I don’t mean that they simply favor one party’s tactics and policies over the other. As you suggested in your piece, that’s just an opinion. Anyone can hold whatever opinion they like, whether they are in favor of the Republicans, the Democrats, The Reform Party, or the Communist Party of America. What I mean by biased is when someone, no matter the situation, defends their predetermined candidate or team without regard for the truth. You brought up the idea that bias one way or the other is something that’s “slanted askew of the normal.” Well, I consider the truth to be what’s normal.
You equated politics to religion, which is something I’ve thought about for quite a while now. When I hear people discuss their political views or see the way they view politics, it does come across as a religious practice. People talk about their “political beliefs”, not political facts. At least in religion, no one really knows if one, all, or none of the religions are right. If you’re a believer, you have to take it on faith that your god is the one true God. However, policy doesn’t have to be taken on faith. Although it is quickly going out of style, there is still a such thing as an objective truth. Far too often, I hear people damn some reports as being biased when what they really are is truthful. Of course, some reports are most definitely biased for one side or the other. However, just because someone says something that you don’t like doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Is it the common American’s fault that he doesn’t realize there is objective facts in politics? I would say no. It’s not his fault, because – although the objective truth exists – there is so much misinformation swirling around the subject of politics that it makes it difficult to discern what is true and what is false. There has always been, and will always be, swindlers in politics. There are ways to do healthcare, social security, education, etc. correctly, so that they will benefit the United States as a whole. However, some politicians do not have the United States as whole in mind when they make policy. They have their version of the United States in mind. When formulating policy, they think about what would benefit themselves, their kids, their neighbors – people like them or people they identify with.
Now, I see that you had a different reaction to Trump’s election than I did. Not only is that totally fine, but it is also not surprising to me. I’ve heard you mock the Clintons once or twice, so I know you’re not a fan. While I did support Hillary Clinton, I don’t disparage anyone for not liking her. In fact, if someone like Mitt Romney had been running against her, my loyalties may have shifted elsewhere. I think even Jeb Bush could have swayed me the other way. Not only is Hillary not an exciting candidate, but her campaign was dreadfully run. Anyone who was in a higher position within the Clinton campaign should never work in politics again. That includes Clinton herself.
Soon after the election was over, I heard a disheartening – but amusing – anecdote concerning the decision making within the Clinton campaign. Not only were all the political analysts convinced that Hillary would win, but her campaign thought they had it in the bag as well. So, they were no longer worried about winning. They were just worried about how badly they could beat Donald Trump. So, Hillary started campaigning in these places that she could never possibly win, like Texas, in order to get maybe one more electoral vote. Meanwhile, she was ignoring the Rust Belt states – Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Someone within her cabal pointed this out to her and the Clinton Campaign Chair, John Podesta. This person rightfully made them aware that if they didn’t lock down the Rust Belt then they would lose. That person was laughed out of the room. That person was also Bill Clinton, a former President of the United States and someone that knows a thing or two about winning elections.
Other than her campaign being a sham, I didn’t have any major issues with Hillary. Would she be my first choice? Of course not. Senator Sanders was actually my main guy. His open embrace of the word Socialist didn’t spook me, because – as you said – I didn’t see him as a threat to the core institutions of the United States. However, I didn’t consider Hillary dangerous either. My idea of a Clinton presidency was that it would have pretty much been an extension of the Obama Administration, which I – for the most part – supported. Also, between Trump and Hillary, I saw Hillary as the adult in the room.
Speaking of Trump, I want to make it clear that I haven’t pledged any allegiance to Donald Trump. I don’t have a picture of the Donald hanging in my dorm room that I salute when I wake up every morning. I pledge my allegiance to the American flag, as it serves as an extension of the United States. The office of the presidency falls under that broad label of the U.S.A. I have a fundamental respect for the office, but not for the person renting out the White House. My respect for the presidency would allow me to maintain a cordial attitude with President Trump if I were to ever meet him in person. That respect might be, in time, transferred over to the president himself, but I don’t yet hold Trump in high esteem.
Finally, I’ll speak to your point about professional politicians. I have long been an advocate for the roles of government being occupied by those who know what they’re doing. Government and governing are exceptionally complicated, and you have to know how the system works in order to be effective. The examples you gave are very similar to the examples I would have given. “Why don’t you want the politicians to be politicians? Wouldn’t you want your pilot to be a pilot?” I think we’ve all heard an argument similar to that one. In fact, I see it as an argument with some merit.
However, as someone who prefers the republican system of government, I don’t want to see the rise of any elite class within the United States. Elite is just a new word for Aristocrat, and the Constitution swiftly did away with any American Aristocracy. That’s why I agree with you when it comes to political families. I don’t like seeing the same name within Congress over and over again, whether it’s Kennedy, Bush, or Clinton.
It’s for this reason that I’ve taken a keen interest in Trump’s family. Some people say that they want Trump to run the government like a business, which he seems set on doing. However, the thing about businesses is that when the owner dies, their next of kin takes control. As we’ve discussed in class, businesses are completely self-contained systems with one figure head calling all the shots for a majority of the time. They are more akin to monarchies than republics – with the board of directors acting as a parliament waiting to be called. If Trump is as much of a family man as we are led to believe, I don’t think it’s farfetched to think that he might want to pass his political legacy onto his children.
Luckily, the United States is not a business or a monarchy. In the past, political classes were able to flourish because they were how the system was able to continue. The long-standing aristocratic families were the only people that were adequately educated enough to govern. In the modern day United States, everyone is educated to a point. It is then up to the individual to seek further education. That education could include – if the individual is so inclined – areas of study that would lend themselves to a career in politics. To me, being a professional politician doesn’t mean being a Washington insider or coming from a political family. Being a professional politician means having the knowledge to work within the American governmental system.
Although Candidate Trump won the election without any knowledge of how to govern the country, President Trump could find his way if he only tried to understand the system. However, from my perspective, it seems that Trump has such a disdain for the system that he doesn’t care to learn how it works. It seems he’s satisfied with brute forcing his way back to the same vastness of power that he enjoyed as a real-estate mogul.