Of Baseball and Boxing
By Norman A. Bailey
Sunday, March 12th, 2017 @ 8:11PM
American politics is becoming a blood sport, more like boxing than baseball. The goal is no longer to defeat the opposition but to knock it out. Very large segments of the American public, elites, and media believe in one or more of the following propositions:
— The Democratic candidate for president in 2016 was a threat to the national security of the United States.
— The Republican candidate, now president, is guilty of treasonous negotiations with a foreign country.
— The election was stolen.
— The Republican campaign was spied upon by the previous administration, which continued to do so after the election in the period before the inauguration.
— The Intelligence community of the United States is engaged in a concerted effort to undermine the new administration.
— The new administration is dedicated to undermining American democracy and all its institutions as well as dismantling the social safety net as well as the entire structure of civil rights.
Most of the above allegations and beliefs have not been proven and may never be. But that is not the point. The underpinnings of American society are under greater threat at present than at any time since the period before the outbreak of the Civil War. In fact, there is talk in California of seceding from the union, as if the Civil War had never taken place.
For observers from the political center, the whole scene is unbelievably dangerous to the future of the country and thus, to the whole world. The best of the candidates for the Republican nomination in 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich, never had a realistic chance of actually being the nominee. The actual nominee was widely considered to be an ignorant vulgarian whose campaign was a bad joke.
The Democrats chose between a representative of the extreme left and a person equally widely believed to be not only a threat to the national security but a liar and a crook.
The liar and crook won 3,800,000 more votes than the ignorant vulgarian, but the latter was elected president by a majority of the Electoral College.
Less than two months after the inauguration the new administration is under violent assault. One high-ranking official has already been forced to resign, and another has recused himself from involvement in an important policy matter.
The rest of the world has no idea what to make of all this, and it maybe that future historians will be equally puzzled.
Reality has consequences, but so does the perception of reality, however delusional. Sometimes those consequences complement each other, but more often they collide. Policies adopted and actions taken as a result of inaccurate perceptions produce at best ineffective results and frequently counterproductive and even catastrophic ones.
Both the left and the right in the US at present are vigorously acting on perceptions of reality that may (and are likely) to prove totally wrong. In the meantime, however, the country will suffer, and its future will be placed in jeopardy.
Let us not forget that this is not happening in Vanuatu or San Marino. It is happening in the most militarily powerful country on earth with a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons and other instruments of mass destruction. Countering the current process of social disintegration is not an option, it is an imperative.
So what can be done? The voices and forces of reason in the US must forget partisan divisions. There is no future for either of the major parties if there is no democratic future for the country as such. The Kasiches and Schumers must join to confront the extremes. If that means the formation of a new political party, the party of reason, so to speak, so be it.
The stakes are too high to vacillate or dither. The time is now before the current boxing morphs into bullfighting, where the penalty for losing is death.