American Horror Story
Laurie Penny

There are two key strengths to the USA. One is that we are made up of bits and pieces of the rest of the world. We come with all of the good, all of the bad, all of the prejudice, all of the ideals, all of the hopes, and all of the fears of the rest of the world.

We are the conquered, the conquerors, the rejected, the kidnapped, the chased out, kicked out, exploited, exploiters, opportunists, adventurers, criminals, geniuses, depressed, optimistic, and everything else.

We, as a people can’t be any better or worse than any of the rest of the world, because we are the rest of the world.

The other key strength is that the USA is an idea as much as or more than it is a nation. It is an idea, a beacon, that says that humans can be equal, that we can get fruit from our labors, that we can create a better tomorrow, that we can self-govern.

Too often, we don’t live up to those ideals, but often enough, we come pretty close. We didn’t win either of the 20th century world wars or the cold war because “we’re great.” We allowed them to be won because of what we represent and what we strive for. We haven’t, and don't, keep tyranny from covering the earth because of who we are as a people, or how hard we fight. We keep tyranny at bay because of what we stand for, and because of the hope that someday, we’ll live up to those ideals, and that everyone will have the opportunity to do so.

This circus we’re watching in 2016, that is our political system, is a big part of the idea. Not because it’s a great political system or form of government. It’s a big part of the idea because of what it isn’t. It isn’t a fully functioning system of control.

No form of government is inherently good. Yet, because we are human, we need some form of government. What our system does, is keep government from becoming too efficient and effective. There is a point where government does just enough good to prevent anarchy yet not so much as to allow tyranny.

Our political circus keeps us orbiting that point. We rarely (if ever) hit the point, but the system keeps us from getting too far in either direction. It’s broken because it was set up to be broken. Built into the system are opportunities to keep breaking it every two, four, or six years — our elections. An unbroken system of government does not result in a free society. A somewhat broken system can.

My personal opinion is that Clinton will be a pretty bad president, and Trump will be a disastrous president. Then, we’ll move on. We’ll learn from the experience and go back to the struggle to get closer to what we stand for. We’ll keep slowly inching in the direction of that idea.

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