A View of Our Current Political Landscape

       I’ve never comfortably labeled myself as a liberal or a conservative, as I see myself somewhere in between the stiff definitions both seem to have, especially now. The terms in our current political arena have lost their broader meanings to become almost comic caricatures of their former selves.

The American political landscape has become a war zone of almost cosmic proportions, based too much upon snide innuendo and self-righteous posturing. The two extremes are rich fodder for SNL skits, but the rivalry is no longer amusing, but rather poses an ugly and dangerous precedent that may leave other nations like Russia and North Korea in fits of laughter at seeing us destroy ourselves on the world stage. The far right has turned President Trump into an icon who can do no wrong, so that wearing blinders has become the norm for them, as they bristle when others point out his gaffs and sarcastic tweets. It is a kind of worship without any criticism of someone whose ego is already grotesquely inflated and makes the more liberal voters see him as being worse than Nero and Caligula ever were in ancient Rome. Everything the president thinks is blithely tweeted, which may comfort some into believing that anyone who is so apparently transparent and naïve, blurting his every thought, must be an honest man.

There seems to be no middle ground anymore. Extreme conservatives seem to excuse every gaff and cruel, fifth-grade insult (or at least seem not to care) the White House makes on a daily basis. While those on the more liberal left attack almost everything the president says or does. I don’t know if his fifth-grade vocabulary is a political tactic to woo the majority of his base or if it is no guise at all and represents his true intellectual level. I do know that he’s on stage all the time anyway and sees himself as the star of every event at every moment.

I believe we’re all weary of trying to prop up our beliefs in the face of vicious verbal attack. We have become a battlefield of righteous opposition, like the North versus the South during our horrendous Civil War of the 1860’s. There is bitterness and rancor on both sides. Our once shared values seem to be terribly out of focus.

It’s time to see again what we might share as a nation, despite our many other splintered and varied values (under only one flag) and stop constantly reducing one side or the other  to comic rubble. Both sides have issues and values worth considering and sharing, especially if we can stand back far enough to see the broader view. There have always been disagreements between Dems and the GOP, but I don’t recall another era (even the 1960’s) when the political arena was often just a Punch and Judy show, based too often solely upon the words “conservative” or “liberal.” We need a clearer and more accurate view of what those terms actually mean by stepping back to see them with greater clarity and honesty.

The term “one nation” in the Pledge of Allegiance has lost its meaning since the days when, as children, we recited the words in elementary schools of the 1950’s. Boxing gloves aren’t as effective for the nation as discussion and reasoning, minus the red-hot emotions we have seen so frequently the past three years, replacing those gloves with a reluctance to turn every issue into a political scoreboard. 

In fact, everything boils down to the next election. Having observed carefully and honestly (we hope) everything over the past three years, people just need to make sure they vote after taking all the hyped up rage manufactured by those who prefer an adrenalin rush instead of facts and balance. Gut feelings and truth don’t always agree, and it’s hard to admit this whenever we go astray of honesty, especially in politics. Whether the nation will be for us all, or just for the chosen few will turn out to be either a shared triumph or our undoing. It’s not too late to come together again under whatever president is chosen by the nation, but first we have to recall what our values truly are, if we can even remember them.   JB

About John

About John John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BS and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado, where he resided for ten years before moving to Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth book is, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014. John’s most recent book is a novel titled Resisting Gravity, A Ghost Story, published the summer of 2018 View all posts by John →
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