Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Where to, America?

    I haven’t been posting here in quite a while. And when I do it generally isn’t about politics. There is a lot involved in the political sphere, and generally I feel, both in Israeli and in American politics, that I really have nothing to add to what is already being said by people who are more well-informed than I.
-I tend to vote conservatively.
- I am a supporter of Israel’s right to exist.
- I PERSONALLY believe in family values. (However, I have learned over the years that people who are gay are real people, and while I do not agree with them, I do not feel it my right to bash them for this, nor to deny them the right to make their own choices.)
- I believe that there may be at times a need for capital punishment, but believe equally that  the way to decrease crime  in the long run is to make having a job feasible, and good education.
-I believe that we need to help the poor and insure health care for all, without encouraging people to just ride on the backs of people who DO work.
- In addition, I feel that America must wake up to the dangers of terror attacks without vilifying everyone who is extremely religiously observant, or non-Christian.

   All of the above is to give you an idea of where I am coming from. But now to my main point.

     I have often wondered how the American political system manages to choose candidates that are so inept at times for the job. I often have said, “My Mom has more common sense than all of them together.” (Not that she would want the job!)  Over the last few years I have become much more aware of the roles that big business and funding plays in elections. I understand that big business wants to protect their interests, and frankly we need business for the economy.  We need somehow to find a way to protect business’s legitimate interests while not letting them trample pell-mell over the little guy.  And I hope that we can control the power of business without becoming a socialist state. These are all important election issues this year, ones which I feel inadequate to address fully.
      But there is a point that I feel must be made. For the first time I am wondering if America is on the brink of disaster.  (I felt a bit like this after Hurricane Katrina, but not as much as now.)  I see society becoming more and more fragmented, more and more extreme (in BOTH directions). When we have movements like the BDS refusing to let Israelis tell their side of the story, and on the other side, a candidate like Trump condoning violence, it seems to me that we are becoming more and more polarized.  How have we managed to become a society where if you disagree with me, I am your enemy?
   I used to think that the radicals were the fringe of the society. That most people had more sense.   But as Trump wins state after state, I am, quite frankly for the first time in my life embarrassed to be an American. When did we become so decisive? (And this is not just a criticism of the conservatives. Super liberals who go around with an air of “free speech for all unless you disagree with me” are equally guilty.)

   And if Trump  gets elected, I dread to think what would happen, with his ineptitude at diplomacy, if there would be the equivalent of a Cuban Missile Crises on his watch. I think that we better all re-watch  Fail Safe and The Day After.

   But equally dangerous is how our society will self-implode if we cannot learn to help and care for each other, even when we disagree.  AND to  work on making basic health care, education, and economic security  available to all, or most, of our citizens. Even if that means not being able to afford the latest iphone.

   And, just for the record, I DID take the time to vote, and plan to do so in November. I just hope that the “least-terrible” candidate that I vote for will be someone I can stomach casting a ballot for.