We live in a time in America when everything is politicized. Everything is viewed through an us vs. them lens of political partisanship. And it is tragic and toxic. Why is it such a politically partisan thing to state that one is "pro life," for example? Step back from the years of abortion debates along partisan lines and ask yourself that question. You'd think that people from all political parties, all backgrounds and walks of life could unite around the conviction that all human lives, from embryos to the elderly, are imbued with a God-given dignity that must be protected. You'd think we could unite around protecting precious lives against abortion, torture, sexual violence, war crimes, police brutality, gun violence and the like. All because we believe in the sanctity of life. But alas.
Most people would probably agree that this presidential election has been the worst ever, a dumpster fire Jerry Springer episode with flourishes of End Times apocalyptica. It’s an election in which 13% of Americans have said they’d rather a meteor hit Earth than live to see either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton elected president. It’s been an exhausting and depressing season, one in which fear and anger are palpable, where suggestions of assassination and actual assassination attempts have both happened this summer, and the nation seems to be teetering on the edge of riots and anarchy
I think it’s time America gets serious about moving beyond a rigid two party system. If the 2016 election has confirmed anything, it is that the recent incompetence and unpopularity of the two existing parties is reaching a crisis point. The crazy fringes are now taking over the mainstream parties, and so it’s time we start thinking of third parties not as extremist dreams but as realistic options for the sane, moderate and balanced Americans who are being left behind.
It’s been a while since I’ve been enthusiastic about voting for anyone in a presidential election. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever voted for a presidential candidate with enthusiasm. It’s usually a “lesser of two evils” sort of thing. But this year I had hoped to vote for Marco Rubio, a candidate I have been hoping for years would run for president.
Like everyone else, I’ve been trying to make sense of the rise of Donald Trump as a likely Republican nominee for U.S. president. How could this happen? What kind of America looks at a man as “openly debased and debauched” as Trump and sees a man they would like to have in the most powerful office in the world? I think it has something to do with the Oscars and O.J. Simpson.
The only real way to make sense of 2016 America, in particular the unfolding presidential election, is to see it in the way Donald Trump does: as a game. Donald Trump’s stump speeches mostly consist of talking about winning, calling others losers, and insisting that he will help America win again. This involves beating China, Japan and Mexico (and everyone else) at trade, as he said in his New Hampshire victory speech. It also involves building a wall along the Mexican border and forbidding the entry of Muslims, presumably to keep foreigners from undermining America’s winning.
Every group, every movement, every family, every coalition or club or team of any kind requires some level of agreement/consensus in order to be meaningfully distinct in identity and remotely efficacious in purpose. And every one of these groups knows how elusive but essential consensus can be. But consensus seems to be more elusive than ever, at every stratum of society.
A year from now we will (very possibly) have a new president-elect in the U.S. As a registered voter in California, I will have zero influence in deciding the election. But that doesn't keep me from having opinions about what kind of candidate I'd like to see succeed in becoming America's 45th president. The following is a list of attributes that would define my "dream president."