HATRED & FEAR
Two weeks ago, David Brooks, New York Times correspondent, said that the campaign for president was the most hate-filled in U.S. history. It has certainly been the most hate-filled in my lifetime.
Hatred is an interesting phenomenon; as we can see in other countries, it harms both the hated and haters. And, these countries have difficulty getting anything done. In America, I believe we’ll see a great deal more in future campaigns—it works so well, and there’s plenty of special interest money available to pay for it.
The corruption of special interest money marches on, untouched by voters, penetrating every aspect of our lives, even those not normally associated with politics. Check out our shrinking economic mobility; we rank second from last, right behind Britain in the developed world. Just 29 of our largest corporations now account for over half of all profits with equivalent increases in sales. Small to medium size businesses are being squeezed out. And fewer new businesses are being started. We used to rank 2nd in the world for ease of starting a business; we now rank 11th. Our K-12 school system continues to be unsatisfactory and uncompetitive.
Inequality is growing in every aspect of our social and economic lives. A great many people understand this but continue to believe that participation in politics, if only by voting, is the path to improvement. How many more election cycles must we endure before we step back in sufficient numbers and attack the underlying system of corruption?
Post-election, many folks claim to be fearful of actions to be taken by our new administration, taking to the streets in protest. They have a right to do this. Hopefully, they’ll keep in mind that our democratic traditions and the rule of law are more important than the results of one election.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that only those protest movements with sharply defined objectives succeed (Vietnam). Others peter out (Occupy Wall Street).