OPINION – It’s been said that reality is everything that remains when you wish it were otherwise. If this is true, we’re all about to get a healthy dose of reality.
The best thing that can be said about this seemingly unending election cycle is that some realities are finally becoming too difficult to deny. For many, it’s proving to be a painful awakening.
We need to remember that not all pain is bad.
For instance, watching the presumptive presidential nominees attack one another in the press and on social media is providing an authentic picture of how corrupt our politics have become.
When one criticizes the other, it’s clear that neither possess the slightest degree of moral authority or principle. It’s like watching a pile of manure criticize a puddle of vomit for smelling bad.
Both presumptive nominees embody the types of values and policies that both liberals and conservatives have been foisting on the American citizenry for generations.
In an essay on Donald Trump, Richard M. Ebeling from the Future of Freedom Foundation says the following:
Donald Trump is, in a sense, the end product of the abandonment and betrayal of the American idea and ideal of individual rights, private property, free markets, impartial rule of law, and constitutionally limited and restrained government.
Unprincipled, manipulative, power lusting, and ruthless in his pursuit of his own gain, with no respect for or recognition of the rights of others, is the imagery of Donald Trump in many people’s minds. But in what way are those not the distinguishing characteristics of the entire political system of government at all levels – federal, state and local?
The corruption Ebeling describes is now the norm in our nation’s capital, as well as in virtually every state legislature where coalitions of special interest groups work “the art of the deal” to elect politicians who will faithfully do their bidding.
Voters who have been trained to think in terms of the so-called “lesser or two evils” are finally beginning to recognize that there is no discernible difference in the evils this time.
The interventionist-redistributionist state has long depended upon political leaders who had no qualms about promising one thing at election time and then screwing over the citizens once the election was over.
Irrational fear of allowing the “greater evil” to get elected has kept American voters intimidated enough to maintain the collectivist status quo for a long time.
Now the dark side of American politics is becoming clear to even the most obtuse. We’ve been played for suckers long enough that the public is getting wise to the game.
Only the most fearful are clinging to the misplaced hope that their vote will somehow make the ongoing evisceration of their liberties less painful.
We’re about to learn whether the law of the harvest still applies to nations as it does to individuals. We’re all reaping what we’ve allowed to be sown.
The relevant question now becomes, what exactly are our options?
I like the answer that Joe Kerry, host of Salt Lake City’s “Disrupt Up” radio show, gave when he was asked this question.
Kerry replied that the vote a person casts this November is a secondary concern to what should be our highest priority. The most important thing any of us can do at this point is to genuinely know ourselves and what we stand for.
Those who would dismiss this advice as naive or irrelevant to the problem at hand are themselves displaying the precise infirmity of conscience that has led us to where we are.
Individuals who have given serious analysis to their own principles and purposes are not as likely to behave like herd animals. More often than not, their convictions give them courage that, in turn, emboldens others.
They don’t seek the perceived safety of the crowd in order to avoid criticism or to find acceptance.
They don’t feel the need to affirm their love for or show unquestioning obedience to those who would presume to rule them.
Individuals who truly know themselves and what they stand for will set about changing the world for the better without waiting for permission to do so.
They’ll do it in ways that don’t require forcing others to subsidize them or punishing those who disagree with them. Their influence flows from persuasion and inspiration rather than from the threat of force.
This is what makes their efforts authentic and effective. It’s why they don’t need to worry about politics as much as politicians need to worry about them.
Paul Rosenberg rightly notes that without the fear-driven compliance that too many Americans freely give, the system could not continue to exploit us at will. People who know who they are tend to be more confident and rational.
Confident and rational people would insist upon better choices for themselves and their children.
As unpleasant as the reality of our current election cycle may be, it’s providing us with a clear opportunity to admit where we really are as a nation, a community or even as individuals.
We can’t steer a more true course when we won’t admit where we are.
Or we can keep trying to evade reality until it cannot be evaded.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator, radio host and opinion columnist in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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