Essay №13: The American Crisis
History is not always written by the victors.
On the cusp of 2018, I feel as if 2017 and 2016 have become one long year defined by the revisionists who felt it necessary to will to life the nationalism that stoked the presidential election. The boundary between what is communicated and what has actually occurred has been marred by the River Styx. To defend our democracy and its institutions, we must relearn how to defend history and learn from its judgment.
Political polarization is the tool that revisionists use to further their falsehoods, to energize their base in hope for political gains. Our country sits on the edge of dangerous pedagogy rooted in faltering identity politics. Knowledge of history and laws of government can correct civic behavior, if and only if, it is both precise and accurate. Politics are not a game, they are a force for change. Despotism is the brother of nepotism and together can erode foundational republic principals.
Like leaders, the followers bare an equal responsibility in who they elect. Our institutions are threatened not only by the current president but by populists of the like and their followers. Demagoguery has become synonymous with an effective campaign — a campaign rooted in revolutionary rhetoric and transformational goals that distinguish themselves from some ill-described status-quo. Hyper-partisanship in our country is convincing breakthrough factions that they are legitimate, by profiteering false promises and inaccuracies. No party in our democratic process is immune to it and we must be able to criticize politicians who seem more seduced by their own power than for constitutional checks and principals.
The vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well -informed judgement, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government.
— Alexander Hamilton, Federalist №1
It is important to remember History never forgets. She will teach us that, those who were ignorantly obsequious to belligerent rhetoric, and looked at truth through a looking glass, walked hand and hand with demagoguery. Midterms and 2020 are approaching, and as we move forward, our society must observe the impressions and incentives of candidates and, whether loudness in declamations is equal to justness, truth, and equality.
Seduction is a child of populism and he is both merciless and consequential. Seduction itself is seduced by praise and the potential for power. The obstacles in which our country and our citizenry face today cannot be remedied by an aborted hope. Admiring America’s core values from afar is not enough during testing and troubling times. We, as a nation, have always envisioned a better union — one in which the circle of opportunity is stretched wider by diversity, intersectionality and equal protection. Yet, perverted ambitions by those who seek to prey on preconceived jealousies and fears are gaining a dangerous amount of influence in a society that once respected the discovery of truth.
In the middle of the journey of our life, I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.
— Dante Alighieri, Inferno
Members and supporters who have involved themselves in the Democratic experiment must check their prejudice and biases when engaging in civic behavior — veiled truth in our society isn’t truth. Normalizing jaded truths to further a political goal is in part responsible for the state of our union. And those who are indifferent to truth and complicit in known falsehoods are victims of the political and populist rhetoric that has shaped much of 2016 and today. These factions are not innocuous. And it will be more difficult for a citizen to realize that they were fooled than it will be to ensconce in complicity.
Jealousy on partisan grounds has shaped our political landscape, making commonsense measures appear impossible and the insurmountable seem achievable. We cannot be consumed by grandiose ideas that emulate false promises for America’s most vulnerable. ‘America is great because America is good.’ The future of our country does not rest in the hands of these factions. This form of democracy and political environment is not sustainable and will correct course at the hand of the glass ceiling shatterers.
Discrimination is at the heart of revisionist rage. If America’s voters do not check and balance themselves, demagoguery will become normal government.