- Subscriber Center
- Print Editions
- About Us
Surreal seems to be the proper word to describe this current presidential election cycle, whatever your political party. There have been accusations of it being rigged, with two highly distrusted and unpopular candidates each accusing the other of lying. There are revelations through damaging videos, past sex scandals, members of one political party publicly bailing on their prime candidate, an illegal email server, embarrassing WikiLeaks hacks and accusations of Russian interference.
Get ready – I am going to mix religion and politics in this column.
"Obama's Middle Eastern foreign policy is a failure." So says the Republican Party during this overheated election year. The problem with this statement is that it is patently false. It is political rhetoric meant to discredit the Democrats and help the Republicans retain control of Congress and gain the presidency.
I can tell something bothers me when I wake up thinking about it. That happened after the first presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
One of the criticisms of government is that nothing much gets accomplished. I served on the Enumclaw City Council for a four-year term. Now, nearly five years later, I reflect on what was accomplished both during my term and what has been accomplished in the five years since. I discovered there are lessons to be learned from looking back.
"Trust and verify."
When I taught history to American students in a U.S high school, I would often get laments like: "I am never going to need this material, why do I have to learn it?" and, "Is this going to be on the test?"
Why did the founders of the Constitution create the Electoral College? Why did they create a body of elites (electors) who actually decide who the president of the United States will be? Why have we not passed a Constitutional Amendment to rid ourselves of such an archaic institution?
"As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others" (2016 Libertarian Party platform).
Have you ever lived in another culture? I did when I decided to spend my senior year of college in England. I spent my summer of that year working with 49 other students from the U.S. and Western Europe on an archaeological dig on the southern and western end of the Temple Mount (Harim al-Sharif) in Jerusalem.
Why is it that professional soccer in socialistic Europe is capitalistic, while in the U.S. all major league sports are monopolistic and socialistic?
We have all heard Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
You have probably seen signs in places of business that say, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."
"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." This famous quote by Benjamin Franklin resonates more than 240 years after it was uttered. The irony of Old Ben's observation is that many people in our era act and speak with such certitude, especially in regard to religion and politics.
Americans are generally ignorant of how our geography has shaped our thinking and our nation. In our history, we have only had one major invasion – the War of 1812. We have weak neighbors to our north and south and vast oceans that buffer us from foreigners to our east and west.
A little more than a week ago we saw British citizens vote to leave the European Union, citing distrust of ruling elites in Brussels and a desire to retake lost national power.
To commemorate the World War I Battle of Verdun, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande met recently at the battle site to remember and honor the deaths of 300,000 German and French soldiers in that 10-month battle.
The presidential primary season has seen an earthquake of shifting alignments for both political parties, something few if any predicted six months ago. According to Michael Lind, writing an article for "Politico Magazine" entitled, "This Is What the Future of American Politics Looks Like," the political changes we have seen are really the end of the process, not the beginning.
Donald Trump's unpopularity numbers hover around 60 percent. Hillary Clinton's are between 50 and 55 percent. How did we get into a situation where most voters will be required to elect the least unpopular candidate this November? The answer lies in history and human nature.
What do voters want to know about the November elections? This was my question to a retired political science teacher friend recently (I will be teaching a Green River College continuing education course on the 2016 elections next week and was looking for ideas). His response was, "What do voters need to know about what the Constitution actually says about the powers of the president and Congress?"