Thoughts On The 2016 Elections (Guest Post)

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Consider the 2016 field of presidential candidates, the prominent ones and those who dropped out. We see one narcissist, two socialists and a few religious types who feel compelled to consult God before making decisions. Who then takes credit or blame for the results has not been noted.

Compare that group with the intelligence, honor and enlightenment of the men who founded this country: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Paine and a few others. Now ask yourself the question, “What are we doing wrong?”

Since Mr. Trump does not appear to like anybody except himself, it is difficult to determine what policy he favors other than his own. But the incoherence of his campaign has failed to inspire confidence that he has any sensible policy. Whether or not he can effectively address the problems that he promises to solve remains to be seen if elected.

His campaign resonates with widespread fears that Islamic terrorism and immigration will threaten our way of life. Whether or not these fears are rational or whether or not Mr. Trump knows what he is talking about are questions beyond the scope of this commentary. His promise to do something about those fears while other candidates have dismissed them accounts for at least some of his appeal. Another part can be attributed to his disdain to talk like a politician, a profession suffering increasing contempt throughout the world.

Another possible contributing factor to his rise might be the disgust that many voters, alarmed by the relentless expansion of government, feel toward the do-nothing rhetoric of the Republican Party. During their times in office where do we see any action commensurate with the noise that brought them into power? Certainly not fiscal probity, shrinking the government, reversing “liberal” programs or any other policies that they like to cry about. All they do is slow down the game, if that much, and concede moral superiority to the liberals that they profess to detest.

Republican conservatives like to get all stirred up over what they call tax and spend liberals, but have not given us a balanced federal budget since 1969 (a slight surplus) during the Nixon administration. The only balanced budgets (actually surpluses) in recent memory occurred in the four years from 1998 through 2001 during President Clinton’s administration. The largest deficit in history, $1.4 trillion in fiscal year 2009, President Obama inherited from President Bush’s budget. In view of these numbers, other than religion it is not all that clear what conservatives are trying to conserve.

If Mrs. Clinton wins, we can expect more rides on the political teeter-totter, a continuation of Mr. Obama’s jerk to the left and a yet greater girth of the government. She has noted Mr. Trump’s lack of political experience in contrast to hers as if that were something to brag about. True enough, but knowledge of current political issues brings no advantages to the rest of us if the candidate in question proposes to address those issues with harmful ideas such as those that she advocates.

Considering the contempt so often expressed by the general public for politicians, why would any candidate brag about political experience in an election campaign? Why  would we want to vote for someone who has done little else of note in life except hold political office? Is what politicians do all that beneficial that we need experienced ones? Experienced in exactly what?

Bernie Sanders’ bid for the presidency would be laughable if not for his all too numerous young cheerleaders. He, Francois Holland of France, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Alexis Tsipras of Greece, the Castro brothers of Cuba, and Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela all recite from the same yellowed script and sing – make that past tense for Chavez – from the same hymnal used by innumerable others who have long since left the stage. Where do we see any great benefits enjoyed by the people of those countries who elected the named individuals based on campaign promises little if any different from Mr. Sanders’ noises?

The impending election, the most important in the world, is nothing short of tragic. I wish I could place a few questions before each candidate or political office holder:

Has it ever crossed your mind, however briefly, that your view of reality, your belief system, your outlook on life or whatever you call your personal philosophy, is instead of a solution to the social problems that you propose to address, a contributor to them? For example, do you really believe that encouraging millions of people to depend on the government for their daily needs will instill the sense of self efficacy and pride of accomplishment that both tend to banish hopelessness and enmity bent on destruction?

Do people who prefer to control their own lives, reap all rewards for their successes and accept responsibility for their mistakes and misfortunes really need you? True, not everyone can be that self sufficient, but shouldn’t that be the goal toward which we move instead of fostering universal dependency? What is your real motive in promoting the current trend?

Has the possibility ever occurred to you, however briefly, that your motives for seeking and holding public office have little or nothing to do with compassion for the downtrodden or  promoting the general health and happiness of our nation?

If it were possible to place all the good that you have brought to this country during your political career on the tray of a balance scale, and all the costs you have brought us on the opposing tray, which way do you think the scale would tip? If I were to ask that same question to your constituents, how do you think they would answer? If I were to pose the first question to all politicians and the second to the general population, how would you picture the result?

Why do we need a full time legislature with no purpose other than to endlessly enact laws? Do free people really need all those laws? Do not many if most laws merely attempt to compensate for the ill effects of previous laws?

At some time perhaps a century or so from now, if the world does not sink into a dystopia, people reflecting on our time will ask themselves an obvious question: How did those people (meaning us) imagine that they could promote a prosperous, progressive and happy world by encouraging dependence on the government for every essential element of existence?

As much as human tragedies evoke our sorrow and compassion, politicizing them stifles personal incentives to correct or compensate while at the same time advances the menace of authority that has bedeviled mankind for uncountable generations.

Governments throughout history have been both blessing and curse with a great preponderance of the latter. I have to wonder if it is possible to write a constitution that so circumscribes government that it precludes the abuses that have proven so endemic to it.

13 Responses to “Thoughts On The 2016 Elections (Guest Post)”

  1. 1

    Nanny G

    Compare that group with the intelligence, honor and enlightenment of the men who founded this country: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Paine and a few others.

    YES, let’s do this!

    What were their contemporaries calling these men?
    For sheer verbal savagery, the founding era may have surpassed anything seen today.
    Thomas Paine denounced the first president in an open letter as “treacherous in private friendship…and a hypocrite in public life.”
    Paine even wondered aloud whether Washington was “an apostate or an imposter; whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any.”

    Relations between Hamilton and Jefferson deteriorated to the point that Jefferson recalled that at cabinet meetings he descended “daily into the arena like a gladiator to suffer martyrdom in every conflict.”
    The two men also traded blows in the press, with Jefferson drafting surrogates to attack Hamilton.

    When the new government was formed in 1789, most newspapers soon evolved into blatant party organs.
    Printing little spot news, with no pretense of journalistic objectivity, they specialized in strident essays.
    Authors often wrote behind the mask of Roman pseudonyms, enabling them to engage in undisguised savagery without fear of retribution. Affairs and pretense of monarchy were bandied about in the press.
    “You slept away your time in the field till the finances of the country were completely exhausted,” Paine taunted George Washington.

    What did John Adams say?
    ON BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
    “His whole life has been one continued insult to good manners and to decency.”
    ON GEORGE WASHINGTON
    “That Washington is not a scholar is certain. That he is too illiterate, unlearned, unread for his station is equally beyond dispute.”
    ON THOMAS JEFFERSON
    “His soul is poisoned with ambition.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Edited to add:
    Obama often act out of an uneducated, but romantic view of Islam.
    Michael H. Davison is acting out of an uneducated, but romantic view of American History.
    Pick up a classical history book, Michael!

  2. 2

    Redteam

    @Nanny G: Nanny G, good comments. While I agree generally with many of Davison’s comments on the present state of politics, I agree with you that he is comparing them with an idealized perception of what the past was like.

    If it were possible to place all the good that you have brought to this country during your political career on the tray of a balance scale, and all the costs you have brought us on the opposing tray, which way do you think the scale would tip?

    This is a good question to ponder with Trump in mind. Why would he want to be president? Does he want to do it for the money? Or would we suppose it is for his ego? Maybe he has lived in this country and observed the day to day outright ineptness and corruption that exists in the politicians that are in it full time for the money and benefits for themselves and those that bribe them the most. Does he think the country could be a much better place for Americans if the crooks were not given such free rein?
    Then think about why Hillary wants to be president. Is it that she has a burning desire to make the country a better place? What would be the evidence to support that. She has been in the spotlight for at least 40 years and I don’t believe that any person could name one thing she has contributed to make the country better. Every move she has made has been self serving, either for power or money. In fact, most moves have been detrimental to someone, Vince Foster and Chris Stephens come to mind. Juanita Broadrick would be another example.
    Given a choice of someone that has an intent to improve the economic conditions in the country or someone that only has an intent to improve her own power and economic status, is there a tough decision to be made? Hardly….

  3. 3

    another vet

    The only balanced budgets (actually surpluses) in recent memory occurred in the four years from 1998 through 2001 during President Clinton’s administration.

    If we were running surpluses, perhaps he can explain how the debt increased everyone one of those years.

  4. 5

    another vet

    @Randy: It’s bad enough when the left keeps repeating the same b.s. over and over but it’s worse when people who aren’t repeat them as well. That means the old adage that if you repeat a lie long enough, eventually people will believe it- i.e. no WMD in Iraq, the rich don’t pay taxes etc.

  5. 6

    bwax

    Here’s an interesting take on our debt:

    $19.2 trillion divided by the number of days that have passed since the 1 AD = $26,301,370, per day! And it’s projected to increase another $4 T by the time odumbo leaves office.

    What are we going to do if China calls in her chips? What would happen to us personally if we owed a lot of debt? The holder of the debt would call for payment and or throw us in debt.

    We will never reduce spending until we stop paying people not to work!

  6. 7

    Tim Lusk

    Build the wall.
    Stop importing muslims.
    Kick out Illegals.
    Bring back jobs.
    Cut Chinese imports.
    Do better trade deals.

    Yeah, that stuff’s incoherent as all hell.

  7. 8

    Bill

    We’re fresh out of saints. In fact, we’ve never had any… only good people that desire to improve the country.

    There is no evidence available anywhere that Hillary is one of those. While there my be a big question mark over Trump, we would be stupid if we had ANY confusion over what Hillary would be like as President. I’ll take a dose of uncertainty over proven and demonstrated failure, lies and corruption any day of the week.

  8. 9

    David

    @another vet #5 –

    “It’s bad enough when the left keeps repeating the same b.s. over and over but it’s worse when people who aren’t repeat them as well.”

    You see this playing out in the threads, over and over, here at FA. And somehow, this passes for coherent, political debate. I’ve been told I don’t know much about fighting terrorists, what I saw and did not see in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other shit-holes around the world. How we get ourselves out of the current climate/cycle of recriminations, it maybe returning to the ideals and promises of the founders and framers. They believed in governing for the common good, finding the common ground. Unfortunately, the common good and the common ground are banned in the vocabularies of both sides of the political divide.

  9. 10

    Ditto

    We see one narcissist,

    You only count one narcissist? You’re joking aren’t you? With the possible exception of Ben Carson, I’d say the vast majority of presidential primary candidates of both parties are narcissists.

  10. 13

    Ditto

    @Petercat:

    Another thing the Trump haters don’t get is that most of us here who will support Trump are not without some concerns. It’s just that in our opinions, Trump is the best compared to the alternatives. I most assuredly do not agree with his position on Imminent Domain, however I didn’t see any of the other candidates offer forth an opinion that agrees with mine. (i.e. only to be used for public/government use and not simply because a different owner would be paying more taxes or that it might create jobs,) So for me, that particular concern is a wash as far as this election is concerned. (And no, I don’t care that the Libertarians support my take on Imminent Domain.)

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