I had a much better feeling after watching the Democratic Party debate than I did after the kick-ass debate of that other party. All three contestants, Hillary Clinton, former First Lady and Secretary of State, Berni Sanders, Vermont Senator, and Martin O’Malley, former Maryland Governor, were eloquent, far ranging, and respectful. There were differences in approach to problems but there was a remarkable degree of unity and friendship among them. As governments are essential to civilizations we must study candidates and choose those we can trust with complex issues for the benefit of all humanity and the environment.
The far-ranging issues discussed included: Daesh, Iraq, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Jordan, King Abdullah, Syrian refugees, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, US health care, single payer, minimum wage, taxes, income inequality, free higher education, and gun obsession. The moderators failed to ask a question about vital climate change so our troika inserted it with Bernie giving the best and most passionate remedy.
Two major omissions that both parties, and moderators, decline to face are the 67-year-long persecution of the Palestinians, a major source of world unrest, and the desperate need for the US to bar money from deciding elections.
While listening to, and evaluating, the three contestants, visions of triumvirates, triads, and troikas kept haunting me. Here was a new one that could work and revitalize the sorry world view of US politics. The world was so relieved in 2008 at the emergence of the Obama-Hillary team that it granted a premature Nobel prize that failed to shield against the fierce, determined, and long-lasting GOP opposition that lost its Grand Old Party status to become Guardians of Privilege.Three-person rule is not new to our civilizations. Best remembered may be the failed Roman triumvirate of Julius Caesar, Pompeius Magnus, and Marcus Crassus, but that was predated by some 150 years by the one in the Chinese Han Dynasty (2012-220 BC). Then there are the triumvirates in Christianity (God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), in Hinduisn (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva), and Tamil, not to mention those in Russia (origin of the word Troika), Europe, and Latin America.
Debates like this should be a main source of learning about candidates rather than the costly and incessant TV sound-bites that are insulting to the intelligence of voters. Among world democracies none wastes as much time and money on electioneering as the USA. Even Bernie Sanders, who refuses corporate financial donations, has to rely on the generosity of millions of supporters to finance his campaign. The US will not be a true democracy until money is eliminated as the main ingredient. Periodic, taxpayer funded, TV debates and limited mailings are a must. We can judge politicians by their daily actions and the UK parliamentary question periods are a good example of democracy at work. We do have scores of dissidents allowed investigative reporting but how many read, listen, and heed? The oft-repeated phrase we hear at memorial services “Freedom is not Free” does not apply only to the warriors but, in a democracy, to all of us. Over 700 years ago students at Oxford lamented in their poem “Sir Penny” that those who hold the heavy purse corrupt everything. Sir Penny must not select our politicians or determine our domestic and foreign policies.
The immaturity of the current system offends me. Daily my computer screen is polluted with a minimum of eight requests for funding for politicians and issues, forcing me to delete all of them and to limit my donations to those who are doing something useful such as: Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Concerned Scientists, and so many other deserving charities.
While, to me, Hillary was the outstanding member of the troika with her knowledge, poise, and dedication, I do have few reservations. Rightfully, she desires to work with, not against, the Muslim world and current regimes, even the unsavory ones,. But she does need to impose a large reduction in the military and financial aid to oppressors like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel. She realizes that the US military, while massive, cannot remedy world ills and that, as Kipling warned us, “Single men in barracks do not grow into plaster saints”. The US suffers from large hate groups and the greed of corporations that profit from human misery and this has infiltrated the military that has been guilty of numerous and world-wide atrocities making unforgiving enemies and nullifying the altruistic goals of the majority of a long-suffering military.
So, Hillary, Good Luck and, as you requested in your closing statement, May the Force Be With You.