I guess you can sum up the tone of the 2016 presidential campaign with a single word.
I might live in a dream world, although I doubt it. Donald J. Trump, the leading Republican presidential candidate, and Bernie Sanders, the surprising Democratic candidate, apparently have tapped a vein that neither of them would be able to find on my body.
Voters are angry with the status quo. They hate politics and politicians. So, many of them are turning to so-called “outsiders” for relief from what they say ails the nation.
Isn’t that interesting? Ironic, too, if you want my take on it.
Trump and Sanders by the very definition of the word are politicians. Never mind that Trump made his fortune selling real estate, developing ritzy hotels and appearing on reality TV. Or disregard that Sanders has been a small-town mayor, member of the U.S. House of Representatives and now is a U.S. senator. They’re not “politicians” the way we’ve understood the word.
To quote the great fictional TV character U.S. Army Col. Sherman T. Potter: buffalo bagels!
They both are pursuing the granddaddy of American political offices, the presidency. Thus, they are politicians. Let’s stop pretending they aren’t, OK?
I don’t know what’s fueling the anger. From my vantage point, I remain the eternal optimist. Our national economy has recovered; we remain the strongest nation on the planet — by a mile, maybe two; we have avoided another 9/11-style terror attack since that hideous event more than 14 years ago; the price of gasoline is falling; we’re making strides in protecting our environment; our budget deficit has been cut by three-quarters.
And people are angry?
I believe the gloom-and-doomers have won the national shouting match. They’ve out-yelled the rest of us who, by our very nature, are not inclined to rouse rabbles and raise hell.
So, people are sick and tired of politicians.
Well, all right then.
The nation will be hearing a lot more from those purporting to be outsiders and those who have some actual experience running a massive government.
You may choose to believe — or disbelieve — this final point. I am willing to listen to the outsiders. I want to hear their solutions. I also am willing to consider all they have to offer.
The late House Speaker Tip O’Neill used to say “all politics is local.”
I believe, though, that for me politics is personal. I am happy with my lot in life, with the direction my life is taking. I believe I have it within my power to guide my own destiny.
Government is not in the way. It does not threaten me or those I love.
I also know that there will be those who read this blog who will call me “naïve,” “Pollyanna,” “ignorant,” “bleeding-heart” . . . whatever. Fine. Go ahead.
I’ll let the shouters keep trying to drown out the rest of us. I also am awaiting to hear some semblance of a solution from any of them.
First, they need to persuade me that we need one in the first place.
I’m all ears.