THE BIGGEST LOSER
The biggest loser in this next presidential election, regardless of who wins and moves into the White House will be America. We as a nation have lost dignity, respectability, and class in this reality show/wrestling match/crybaby tantrum fest known as the presidential campaign. Never before in our history have candidates for the highest office in the land behaved in a manner that would get 8 year olds sent to their rooms. Never before in our history have candidates referred to penis size in a nationally televised debate, or name-called to such a degree that if one of them shouted “Liar, liar pants on fire” during a debate it would fit right in.
History will not forgive us. We will be living with the consequences of this election year for generations to come. And while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have not debased themselves in the manner that the Republicans have, they have started trending toward more personal attacks because that seems to be the only way to get air time now.
What is even more disturbing than the behavior of the Republican candidates is the fact that so many people think their behavior is just fine. Watching it is one thing — it is hard to turn away. But endorsing it is veering down a dark tunnel that will, without doubt, swallow us.
I was once in a restaurant/bar in New York when a fight broke out between two (probably drunk) men. They were flailing at each other, one was swinging a chair at the other man. Eventually someone broke them up, but we were all watching it. The fight was immature, and messy, and very entertaining. But I would venture to say that no one who was watching would endorse it as admirable behavior. What happened to us as a nation that we are allowing a presidential campaign to descend into a bar fight?
What happened to us that made us shrug off Donald Trump’s repeated assertion that he’ll behave differently once he gets into office? That would be like an athlete competing for the Olympics, blowing it, and then saying ‘Let me in anyway because I’ll do better once I’m actually in the Olympics.’ The word “greatness” is tossed around like a tennis ball in this campaign. We have had great leaders in this country’s history. We have also had great figures who did not hold elected office. None of them behaved like foul-mouthed children who resort to sneering, name-calling, and prurient attempts at humor. That’s not what greatness is.
Greatness is dignity, restraint, thoughtfulness, an intelligent weighing of facts, problems, solutions. Greatness is the ability to lead people from darkness into light. These are dark times. The dangers of the world are all too real, and the dangers within our own borders with mass shootings and racial hatred are splintering the towering vision that the founders of this country held dear. The solution is not to behave like children. The solution is to grow up and lay claim to what greatness truly is.