In a surprise to no one Donald Trump’s call to stop the immigration of Muslims into the United States has ignited a firestorm of debate across the nation. Coming at one of the most volatile and fearful moments in American history, his statements have enraged the left and has generated an audible moan from the GOP base. In the wake of Paris and San Bernardino these statements, that in conventional elections would almost seem suicidal to any campaign, are actually gaining traction in polls despite a vast majority of outlets and talking heads taking him to task. What does this mean? Simply put, there is a disconnect in America between the voter and the political and media elite. The more the opposition and “experts” decry Trump the deeper the American conservative voter seems to be digging in their heels. Why? I believe there are a myriad of reasons but to put it simply;
There is a conflict between America’s head and her heart.
To truly understand the paradox that America is currently in you have to look far beyond the bombastic statements of a demagogue with a unique haircut. You have to look beyond the Republican and Democratic parties, beyond the bullet point platitudes that plague the American political system. It is all noise and bluster working within a system that has outlived its usefulness. The times of today demand a reconciliation (or reckoning) of what America practices and what she preaches. A self examination where the loyalty to a Donkey or an Elephant fade to the back and objectivity must be the new standard with which policy is made free of the tenets of holy texts and political platforms.
In essence, America needs to cut the bullshit.
For too long vague ideals, half-hearted philosophies, and ambitious (if not downright empty) promises have been the guiding light to sitting in the Oval office or really any national office. Over simplification of complex issues boiled down so that the American voter, perhaps the least respected component of the entire national political system, is reduced to a coin flip decision where the parties have already defined the candidates stances. Look at the subjects topping today’s headlines and its almost laughable at the hypocrisy every color of the political spectrum displays. Let’s just look at a few;
-The religious right decries Planned Parenthood, birth control, and abortions citing the Bible as cause and reason to prohibit and discourage such actions. Stances that impact women almost exclusively. In the same breath, they fear and decry any implementation of Sharia law citing the danger and suppression of the rights of women.
-The ultra liberal left has no problem painting the NRA, its members, and really, anyone who owns a firearm or defends the 2nd Amendment as monsters owing to the actions of a extreme minority. No sooner have they finished launching those accusations do they then seek to discredit and vilify anyone who generalizes or defines Islam by the terrorists actions that have been perpetrated across the globe by an extreme minority.
-The conservative right views Islam as a path to radicalization and fear that any member of the religion could go on a murderous rampage at any moment yet remain quiet when Christian fanatics unleash the same evil fury against innocent victims.
-The liberal left decries the institutional racism in the United States justice system and, to an extent, society itself yet fervently supports Affirmative Action which, literally, treats individuals different based off the color of their skin.
The list goes on and on and almost on every issue you can see the two sides flip flop against each other. Alternating logic and a lack of self examination or self awareness have become hallmarks of debate and discussion. Lost is the moderate, left to watch the pendulum swing from one fanatical mouthpiece to another spewing rhetoric that has no place in reality.
Its not just those who hold fundamental Christian and Islamic views but anyone who identifies as fundamental anything. If the belief system you practice has no place for compromise, for understanding, for a willingness to put forth your ideas and debate then you are part of the problem.
In fact, confronting someone on their beliefs in either debate or criticism itself is not only no longer in vogue or considered a critical part of a democratic society but viewed as poor taste and written off as vitriolic and hateful if not also racist, sexist, jingoistic, xenophobic, socialist, communist, fascist, or any other nasty -ic or -ist you can throw out there, simply because it is a dissenting opinion. The merit or the examination of the opposition has been disregarded as seemingly everyone is searching for their own political and social circles that do not challenge but unequivocally support their views.
This is leading and has lead to increasingly deluded and divided segments of the population who exist in a bubble of opinion from which they shout the loudest. Bolstered by a false sense that their opinions are widespread and celebrated since the only opinions, articles, and media they give credence to are the very ones that parrot back their own. The result? An exhausted moderate majority who keep to themselves and their heads down instead of dealing with the zealous fringes who have no issue in seeking to destroy any who become a beacon of opposition to their stances and beliefs. All of this occurring while, concurrently, only the extreme views are put forth by the vocal, zealous minority on either side of the spectrum.
Following that trend you can see why and how America is in a precarious position in the realm of politics. The system is forcing a great majority of Americans who, more often than not, believe in an amalgam of liberal and conservative beliefs vote and elect individuals who do not. It’s not voting for who you agree with the most but who you disagree with the least. That is the decision the majority of Americans are making when they head to the ballots.
So how is that corrected? It is no simple answer but there is a starting point; Americans need to stop taking everything to heart and start using their heads. To become engaged in meaningful discourse to come to solutions that are based in reality and not in the higher realms of philosophy or rhetoric or propaganda or hypotheticals while ignoring logic. To unite instead of divide and to invite all voices to the table of discussion instead of seeking to discredit, marginalize, and dismiss the opinions of our fellow citizens (as long as those views do not violate the Constitutional rights of ALL American citizens. A Constitution that is probably due for some crucial updates) simply because we do not like what they are saying. Believe in your own ideals yes but recognize yours are not anymore sacred than the person next to you and realize that you may lose a debate. That the majority may disagree. That a democratic process is a system that is not going to give you your personal idyllic society and never will.
Once you realize that, there is no choice but to unite and work together in the clear and sometimes harsh light of reality free of partisan ramblings and fundamental tenets of both faith and politics. The safety and freedom of the United States and her people depend upon it.