My thoughts on the 2016 presidential election

 In Reclaiming Democracy, Shifting cultural paradigm

Last evening Shonnie, Gracelyn and I were in the kitchen cooking dinner and listening to This Land is Your Land: Songs of Freedom. Buffy Sainte-Marie and her rendition of “The Universal Soldier,” Bob Dylan and Joan Baez crooning “With God on Our Side,” Cisco Houston singing “This Land is Your Land,” and more. And I got to thinking about this presidential election.Trump-Hillary-Bernie

Now it’s quite clear to anyone paying attention that it’s way past due for a woman to be elected President of the United States. However, this is a highly perilous time for this nation with numerous issues that cry out for action—income inequality, lack of a living wage for many including members of the middle class, two-tiered justice system, institutional racism, militarization of police departments, world-wide militarism (800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad), and more, plus our lip service toward reining in climate change.

This is not the time to choose a president merely because she’s a woman who has certainly paid her dues. Personally I’m concerned that the nomination and election of Hillary Clinton will lead us further down the path toward oligarchy in which the economic elites (of which the Clintons are members with a family net worth of more than $100 million) rule our nation. In fact, we may already be there according to a recent Princeton study:

The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.

Business as usual will obviously not suffice.

Of course, one might contend that oligarchy is a somewhat better alternative than the authoritarian fascist state envisioned by Donald Trump, a man of hyper-masculine pretense who summons the worst in us—xenophobia, racism, bigotry, sexism, intolerance of anyone not like you, and other fear-based behaviors.

But there is still another choice: Senator Bernie Sanders and his support for social democracy, a system in which government has a leading role in pursuing economic security, equal opportunity, and rising living standards for all. I heartily support Bernie and his vision for the citizens of this nation—breaking up the biggest banks, doubling the minimum wage, taxing the wealthy at higher rates, providing Medicare for everyone, making a college education free, opposing international trade agreements, abolishing for-profit prisons, ensuring that no child goes hungry, dealing with climate change: all of these stands, along with numerous others not mentioned here, align with my deepest values and my highest hopes and dreams for our nation.

This election is not merely about choosing a politician who will hold down the office for four years, who will test the political winds for the popularity of legislation before taking superficial, half-measures that will provide a few bread crumbs for the citizenry while making certain the interests of the oligarchs are maintained.

It’s time for a political revolution . . . before it’s too late.

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  • Steb Fisher

    I agree with every word. I don’t know if there is any way that Bernie can be elected. But I do think that if Clinton gets in and we have up to eight years of more and more disenfranchisement of all but the very very wealthy and more and more wealth gushing up, as opposed to trickling down, then the next Trump, will be much much smarter and much much nastier.
    So here is a high risk strategy. Put Trump in. Watch him go down in flames and in four years put someone in who has Bernie’s values and more.

    • Bruce Mulkey

      Thanks for your comment, Steb. The good news is that Bernie gained a great deal of support from a broad swath of Americans. The bad news is Hillary is going to be the Democratic presidential candidate barring some unforeseen event(s) in the next few weeks. Frankly I think Hillary or Trump are likely to go down in flames. The natives are restless.

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