As far back as I can remember, and that now exceeds 90 years, citizens of what is known as the United States of America have been noted for bragging that they inhabit the greatest, most unique, country in the world.
Could they be right? What other country inflates what in sedate countries is about an 8-week task into a 208-week circus requiring exemplary courage to endure? Theirs is a country that contains more than enough brilliant and capable individuals who can lead not only their own country but make it a leading light in a troubled world. But, that is too easy.
Instead they accept the challenge of not voting for the best candidates but voting against those they despise. In the process they waste billions of dollars that are badly needed in repairing failing infrastructure, fighting Greed, Climate Change, Gun Lobbies, Inequalities, Health and Education Costs, an out-of-control Military-Industrial Complex, Nuclear Arsenals, and so on.
Daily, individual computer screens are infected with at least eight requests for political donations that range from one to ten dollars. Those naive enough to respond discover what they really want is a much larger donation on a monthly basis.
Why feed politicians, already bloated with corporate and foreign fortunes, when numerous and much-worthier organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, Greenpeace, Concerned Scientists, and the like, put donations to much better use?
But, pause a bit to explore what also belongs here: the opposition-criticized Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Foundation established in 1997 by Bill. Claims that donors receive deliberate kickbacks are unsubstantiated. Overlooked are the improvements in agriculture, education, health, and finances of millions especially in Detroit, El Salvador, Haiti, Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania where 88% of funds raised go directly to aid, making praiseworthy improvements.
Yet, all US politicians are kept quite busy, but not in governing. It seems essential that they waste over half their time and effort with fund-raising to support a system obviously badly broken. Far too many young, elected, hopefuls arrive in Washington, ready and capable to do good for their country and their world, only to find that the system has not evolved to permit that. Their first duty is to raise about $18,000 daily for party funds.
Discouraged, too many settle for the enormous, and unfair, perks that go with the job. The US public has about a 15% approval rating of Congress yet it keeps re-electing the same representatives. Inflexible party adherence or entrenched money? Some senators tell us it costs $100 million to win a seat. Flooding voters with endless TV ads may work but it is insulting to voter intelligence. Results? Since the Cold War, UN politicians have had an 85% success record in troubled areas while the US record is dismal.
Dare we try to assess the current cycle? The field that started out with a dozen candidates has dwindled to the two who command the least affection.
Now, I still like Berni Sanders, Jill Stein, and Ajama Baraka whose foreign policies are worthy of a great nation. Berni may still influence Hillary but Jill, Ajama, and their Green Party remain relatively unknown and unheeded. This is a far greater pity than most realize.
When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the world breathed such a sigh of relief that it rushed to present him with a Nobel Peace Prize. At last, the US would lead, not dominate. Not succeeding in closing Guantanamo, not following Mikhail Gorbachev’s lead in eliminating nuclear weapons, but rather pledging $1 trillion to update the US inventory of such world-destroyers, and not taming, but supporting, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel have engendered great disappointment and soiled the US image abroad in spite of the Peace Corps, the Clinton Foundation, and other US philanthropists.
Alas, inherited problems, corporate interests, and Republican opponents would not permit Obama-expected results. While Obama has made impressive gains he falls far short of what the world expected and Hillary, as Secretary of State, has been forged by financial interests in the USA, and the World, as they do dominate.
Yet, it is high time the US had a woman as head of state. Hillary does possess the stamina, knowledge, and ability to be an effective president, but she is still a hawk, much less so than all of her Republican opponents, but, as her famous e-mails reveal, she and her associates partied when Saudi Arabia signed that Boeing contract for F15s that are now criminally murdering innocent people in impoverished Yemen. This contract includes training, maintenance, and in-flight refueling, resulting in much blood on US hands and world disdain. Meanwhile the Clinton Foundation gets bribes of $10 million from Saudi Arabia and almost a million from Boeing. This is not statesmanship, nor are the billions of dollars donated annually to aggressors like Israel and Egypt. Like the US, Israel has the ability to be a shining light in the Middle East and many of its citizens strive for this, but overall it has not learned from the holocaust. Its treatment of Palestinians is criminal. Its settlements are cruel and illegal; its formidable nuclear arsenal is secret and free of inspections thanks to US support. The US-supported Egyptian military has no empathy for their much-needed dissidents.
Much of the world condemns the US for its support of such aggressors. Obviously, the US puts power and money above human rights and self respect.
So, is Donald Trump an answer? He is outspoken and a hero to many who yearn for a change in their stagnant or deteriorating economic status. He is more of a hawk than his hawkish party mates who keep trying, unsuccessfully, to push him aside. With inherited wealth he went on a building spree that left contractors and workers who built his empire complaining they were short-changed. He has faced over 3,000 lawsuits.
He lacks the composure and depth of knowledge to trust as someone who could ignite the nuclear end of civilization. Voting for him is a risk our already-endangered world cannot afford. A Berni-influenced Hillary is a safer choice.
Advice? The country is in a political mess of its own making but the wherewithal for resurrection exists. Perhaps a better look at 3rd parties? Jill and Jamana do deserve more attention and much more publicity. So do many of the current politicians if they are released from their heavy and incentive-killing monetary chains.
Jill and Jamana, in the very limited time provided them by the mainstream media, voice more human-rights values than do those from the other parties where only Berni is a true advocate. The gridlock of a 2-party system needs to be unlocked.
Elections should be time-and-money-limited, tax-supported, and free of paid lobbyists, domestic or foreign. As a showman, Trump earned money for the media, so, gratefully, they give him the greatest publicity.
There is a slogan out there: "Make the USA great again.” Yes, it is possible, but, first, the electoral policy must be reformed.