I used to think there was a need for, at the least, a balanced pair of parties in the USA, so that the people would have a choice. I stil believe that, but...one of our choices just isn't a choice anymore.
I've found with time that the media plays a lot with false equivalencies. 95% of scientists agree on climate change, but most media discussions give equal time to deniers. I don't suppose they'd do the same with flat-earthers, even if that has as much science backing it.
Conservatives find themselves in a quandary. Their party, the Republicans, have been painted, through the Southern Strategy, into a corner. The establishment Republicans, mostly the group of big money, have for years played the evangelicals and ignorant/racist Tea Party types like rubes, and gotten what they wanted--numbers to help them hold offices. Travel too far down the rabbit hole, however, and you find yourself in wonderland.
Republicans of today enshrine Reagan as a prototypical Conservative, ignoring that he upheld separation of church and state, welcomed immigration, and negotiated with terrorists. Eisenhower was against the military-industrial complex. Conservatives of the present have fallen into a black hole, the solution of which I can only see as a fracturing of the Republican party into three smaller parties.
Trump isn't really a Republican, or even a Conservative. He's a demagogue, and a sociopath. He says whatever he wants, regardless of how it will play. The conditions in the Republican party, however, are such that a significant portion of them eat up everything he says.
In 2000, I voted for John McCain over GW in the primary. I don't belong to a political party, but California has open primaries, and I had no desire to see GW possibly run for President. It didn't work, of course.
I used to think the nation needed a balance of Conservative and Liberal. I still think it does. But what the Republicans peddle isn't Conservatism in the classical sense at all. It is fear. They have planted their feet for too long, and been left so far behind in our modern world as far as social and geopolitical concerns that many of their constituents are simply paralyzed with terror at where they find themselves. Just looking at the number of them that bought guns simply because a black man was elected President was telling...a President that spent a significant amount of time bending over backwards to meet the other party halfway in legislation. Fear doesn't allow Republicans to see what Obama really is--a social Liberal, but an economic moderate at best.
The nation, I have realized, doesn't need a balance, when that choice is between fear and humanity. Humanity must win. I have no glowing expectations of perfection from Liberals, but racism, feudalism, and hatred cannot return to what they were in the past. You can't go home again. Time marches on. Nations, like people, grow up and mature.
I'm not sure where you, or anyone, gets the idea that America, or for that matter a majority of Americans, desire a peaceful country.
Our nation was built on three concepts: Religion, wealth, and personal freedom. The peculiar combination of seeking wealth and promoting Christianity is a uniquely American hybrid. No sooner had Europeans come to America to practice their own religion than they persecuted others of different Christian sects who arrived on the same shore. I won't even mention the indigenous people or African slaves. Bigotry and hatred came with them from the Old World, fused with the desire for more
: more land, more gold, more power.
We got it in spades.
Fortunately, these were tempered by the search for personal freedom, and, fortunately, tempering that with empathy. Minorities, women, the not-rich...they all saw their lots improve slowly over time. What is disturbing now, though, is we see what has been gained being eroded: the destruction of Glass-Steagall, the weakening of the Civil Right Act of 1964, the Citizens United
We Americans have to admit one painful truth: we are incredibly spoiled. Those of us, regardless of political bent, who spend any significant amount of time in other nations, particularly impoverished ones, and among their people, have a chance to see just how lucky we are to live in such a wealthy nation...or perhaps not so lucky. I hear the word entitlement
bandied about by right-wing politicians a lot. To be honest, all of us are incredibly entitled, compared to citizens of nations like Cambodia, Guatemala, or Zaire. Some of us are even more spoiled than others, and I'm not talking about the wealthy. I'm honest enough with myself as a middle-aged white man to know I likely won't be shot in the back by a cop, or turned down for a job because of the sound of my name.
We want peace, we want togetherness, we want fellowship, but we want it on MY terms.
I don't see a viable alternative on the Right. Reasonable candidates seem to have gone out of style with Bob Dole. There is a powerful Archie Bunker mentality to so many Republicans and their candidates now; a smugness and an arrogance that is hard to tolerate. And should it be tolerated? Dr. King said that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
It seems to me that the only reason we don't have any of this, is because beyond our lip service, beyond our political proselytizing, we actually do not want peace, compromise, or fellowship.
The Republican establishment had, for six years, a monopoly on the Federal government: GW was President, both houses of Congress were majority Republican, and the Supreme Court was majority Conservative. Was Roe vs Wade
overturned? Was government drowned in a bathtub? Were rocket launchers made legal to own nationwide? No, when we talk about Right vs Left, it is more complicated than that.
Look at the similarities between Trump and Sanders. They inspire their followers. They are populists. They are so successful because they are responding to a very real dissatisfaction with the status quo
. The Conservatives who follow Trump are justifiably angry with the Republican establishment; they have been played for decades. Unfortunately, they still don't quite get it. Voting for a billionaire anti-establishment megalomaniac won't get them what they need, but it will give them what they want, at least in the short-term: satisfaction. Thumbing their noses at those who used them for so many years.
On the other hand...Sanders is the only candidate in the entire election at the moment who has a net positive approval rating. Both he and Trump are honest, but whereas Trump merely gives voice to his id, Sanders is genuinely empathetic to people. Trump is our own Le Pen. Sure, Ted Cruz is worse, as close as I can be sure to a psychopath with only taking four years of psychology courses and no doctorate...but Trump as President would be a disaster just as well.
I can't play the false equivalency anymore. Not as a rational, empathetic human being. The parties are not equal, and they are not balanced. I see Hillary as in bed with the monied interests of Wall Street, but at least she won't try to strip hard-won rights away from women, the LGBTQ community, and minorities. She won't nominate justices like Scalia to the Supreme Court. She won't help the majority of people economically, but she won't bury us socially.
Trump is hated by a majority of independent and moderate voters. Say what you want about the socialist Bernie Sanders, but he's a more decent human being. It really comes down to that in my book. I think the momentum is swinging Bernie's way, and he will take the nomination. He will win the Presidency because he wrecks Trump in a face-to-face matchup. Whether he finishes his term due to his age, or runs again, I do not know. But there is nobody on the Republican side who is humane enough to be the leader of our country...no one who cares about all
This is not about politics in my mind. This is about humanity, and basic human decency. The Republicans have forfeited the field as far as that is concerned.