Have you noticed that politics in America is becoming more a religion than a means to govern? Politics is no longer a means to an end, but the end, the aim, the goal. It is no longer how will this political party and it representatives help us build at a better place, it is how this personality-politician will win, fix it all, and make us feel better.
Faith in and devotion to personalities has replaced researching policy and voting based on what best aligns with one's view of government. Instead of seeing politics as the art of deliberately building a platform on which to build a better government and place, we see it as supporting the personality who we like the most and/or who thinks 100% just like we do.
We see this most clearly in the illogical, post-primary devotion to Bernie Sanders, what I will call the Bernie or Bust Party.
I speak as a primary Bernie Sanders supporter. I truly felt and feel that his social democratic philosophy and platform is what this country needs. We need a complete restructuring of our political and economic systems. (Bernie is somewhat disingenuous when he says "political revolution." He also wants an economic revolution.) While I liked Bernie's politics, I was not enthralled with his style and personality. He seemed too gruff, too inflexible, too masculine as a campaigner though I did see the compassion in his views. Plus, his politics and philosophy align with mine so I supported him.
However, he lost. He lost by millions of votes. Yes, it is clear the DNC was not neutral, and behind the scenes supported Hillary Clinton, but this did not decide how people would vote.
I thought Bernie Sanders was wise to hold out in endorsing Hillary Clinton. He was also wise and savvy in getting 90% of his platform to be enacted as the DNC platform. Bernie supporters, we got 90% of what we wanted. No, we did not get Bernie, but we got 90% of our platform. Because of that 10% we didn't get, we are going to vote for Donald Trump (and voting for a third-party means a vote for Trump)!?
Now, if you disagree with the DNC platform, than sure, vote for someone other than the Democrat. But then I question your real support for Bernie Sanders who ran as a Democrat (not as a Greener) and because 90% of what he supported, Hillary Clinton demonstratively, via the DNC platform, supports.
These 10-Percenters, the remaining Bernie-Or-Busters, make it clear to me that for them it is less about the politics of Bernie Sanders than it is the personality of Bernie Sanders. It is less platform alignment than quasi-religious-devotion. This is very dangerous. It would be dangerous if we had the average Republican running for president. But it is especially dangerous considering we have a by-excuse Republican with dictatorial ambitions. Trump is running to be America's version of Putin. Is a 10% difference enough to give the reigns and the nuclear-code to Trump?
Or is it merely anger? Anger is no excuse for stupidity.
For Bernie-or-Busters, there is not enough fear of what a Trump presidency would mean. Yes, he might break the system, but he might also nuke the whole world in the process. He might also enact racist laws that will make our current crisis with police violence much, much worse and our current immigration crisis even worse as well. Is this a risk we are willing to take? Is it not implicitly racist to know that a racist might win the presidency and then help that happen?
The lack of logic, the reign of feelings, the worship of personalities on both sides all point to American politics new reality. American politics has become America's civic cult. A cult is defined like this:
We enter very dangerous territory when the focus of government becomes personality and personalities at the expense of the art and craft of politics, which is the art and craft of compromise. This focus on personality and personalities goes both ways. Voting for or against someone solely because of their personality, based on whether you like him or not, is not how democracy is supposed to work. Platforms and legislation is supposed to matter more than merely the personality proposing it. Why? Because in a democracy it is "We" (implied by legislation) not "me" (implied by people proposing it).
In a democracy, a person running for election is running as a people's representative. We are electing them to be a stand in for us. A personality cannot, does not best represent a people. Proposals, legislation, building support for that legislation best represents a people.
If Bernie-or-Buster really believe it is about the political revolution and not about Bernie, then how can you not support the product of Bernie and the revolution - 90% of what you want in the DNC platform!? The DNC candidate for president is the primary mouthpiece for that platform and the legislation it desires. How can you not support the centerpiece the revolution helped create?
In America, politics equals legislating and legislation. No, legislating and legislation is not as sexy as a million dollar campaign ad or interviews on Fox News with attractive newspeople. No, legislating and legislation is not as alluring or personality-driven as preaching a speech. But in the end, it is legislating and legislation that makes the most difference. It is legislating and legislation that decides whether we as a nation become better or more bitter. That is why political platforms are so important. Getting 90% of what you want should mean more in how you vote than the 10% of what you didn't get or your personal anger over who won and lost.
It is the legislation, stupid!
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