It’s that time again in American politics when we are subjected to the four year ritual of electing our next President.
Like the locusts emerging from their hibernation, the world is suddenly full of this deafening noise of a political war of words. And like the locusts’ cacophony, we only have to endure it for a few short months. Then it dies down, and both the locusts and our politicians seem to go to sleep again until it’s time to come out of their holes and governmental offices to assault us once again with their dissonance.
Ok. Maybe I’m being too harsh. On the locusts, that is.
The two recent conventions were like a mass gathering of locusts just let out of the ground. Lots of annoying, almost deafening noise with little substance for the American people to digest. Unfortunately, I feel like our own parties have become to each other what the Soviet Union was to the United States once when I was a kid and the Cold War was at its height. We exported democracy, and the USSR exported Communism. East against the West. They wore the black hats. We wore the white ones. It was easy to tell who the enemy was. Our cartoons even exploited it. Boris and Natasha against Rocky and Bullwinkle.
It was called “the Cold War” because of the frozen stalemate between the two superpowers. It was one big standoff, fraught with innuendo, threats of nuclear war, bluster, and bluffing.
The Cold War has returned. The threat is just as real. But this time, it’s not against a sovereign nation like the USSR. It’s internal. It’s against ourselves. And our words have become the nuclear missiles we aim at each other and stand ready to use.
The political personalities and spokespersons paraded across the stages of both conventions brutally engaged in this cold war of words.
Each group has become a seething advocate of its own ideology, not truth. Their mantra seemed to be: “State your position. Defend it regardless of whether it’s true or not, or even applicable to the situation. Argue to make yourself heard.”
Not because you have something to say, but because you have nothing to say. Whether liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, it’s equally distasteful. This is beyond partisan anything.
Honestly, this attitude is insulting. The hoi poloi can no longer figure out anything for themselves, it seems. We now have to put up with the self-appointed interpreters of what is apparent. And what’s worse, even the most obvious examples of political chicanery, double-speak, smoke and mirror facts and stats are overlooked or whitewashed because we long to find some kernel of truth in our preferred ideologies.
Tragically, we now look for truth in dung heaps.
The leaders of both parties stick their hands in the political muck and hold up what they’ve grabbed, admire it, and then declare it relevant and to be believed. And when all those who have not drunk the Kool-Aid and still have a modicum of common sense look at it in disbelief and say openly, “It’s just a pile of dung” (it’s hard to refrain from using the more expletive synonym here). And they that disagree are excoriated because they are not in lockstep with the politically correct thought of the day that truth no longer matters. Or even exists. The obvious is no longer obvious.
Our politicians are dangerously similar to the French ruling elite prior to the French Revolution. They seem to have embraced the same noblesse oblige attitude toward the masses as the leadership in France did. And don’t be fooled by those who say they are not part of the government elite. One needn’t be a veteran of the ruling DC class to act like one of them.
I’ve decided that the cold war of words leaves me no option but to look for a common sense party. One that helps us to look beyond the political speak and the politically correct to a different reality. A reality that I find most embodied in the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus used that platform to interpret life and truth in another language than what everyone traditionally heard from the communicators of the day of either party. He interpreted how to live life in the “blessed are you” comments about how we relate to the meek, the poor in spirit, the merciful, the hungry, those who mourn, and the pure in heart.
Mrs. Clinton might have found freedom from her demons of errant emails and the events of Benghazi with the blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. While Mr. Trump might learn a thing or two about the spirit of mourning with the Khan family.
So, when the cold war of words heats up during these next few months, and either party asks us to accept whatever it has pulled from the dung heap, let’s just say what it is. And that it smells. Regardless of what side it’s flung from. The world offers us dung. The Sermon on the Mount offers us the aroma of life. Choose wisely.