During my time in secondary education, there was very little mention of politics. For a political nerd and/or history junkie like myself, that was a major disappointment. Notwithstanding the fact that I detested the history teacher for deeply personal reasons, we were weighed down with talk of the Stone Age and the Romans and Pompeii. Most of which was fundamentally useless with regard to the rest of our lives.
Similar sentiments could readily be employed relating to maths. Some of the dross drummed into us was about as useful as a Bank Holiday is to a cow. The history was most frustrating though because there were plenty of monumental events – even some of which were ongoing around time but scarcely touched upon.
Either incarnations of Bloody Sunday, the first Gulf War and some of the major incidents in the warfare up the North were some of the events which were only afforded perfunctory lip service.
You’d hope those that came after my vintage and in particular the current generation going through the education system get a more balanced, broad-minded view of world events than was the case in our day. That said, the situation being as it was back then was almost certainly down to the nefarious influence of certain institutions which has since been largely quelled and will hopefully one day be extinguished. Along with said institutions themselves.
One can only wonder and indeed fear how history will look on events most recently and indeed continuing to unfold in the United States. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the words of the beautiful ballad by the Wolfe Tones in tribute to Irish Revolutionary Padraig Pearse “Soon the word had spread to London of an insurrection there at hand” The chorus of that song says of Pearse ” A poet and an Irish Rebel, A Gaelic Scholar and a visionary”.
Contrast that to what ensued on Capitol Hill yesterday. A hate-filled attempt to usurp democracy in the name of a bully used to getting his own way and unable to accept that his number was up.
The American political system fascinates me. Particularly the electoral element to it. Yes it’s unwieldy and long-winded but it’s almost impossible not to get drawn into it if you are even remotely inclined towards politics or current affairs. Conversely however, it makes you feel us Irish may have been slightly hard on ourselves over our inability to embrace E-voting. Wasn’t that a blessing in disguise!
Long-winded though it may be, the system in the US has always worked for them. More than that, in so many ways, the stars and stripes were the standard by which the rest of the world lived and were judged. Until now. Until yesterday.
That is not to say that there haven’t been issues with elections previously. Remember, Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote of 21 years ago, but George W. Bush ended up in the White House. In fairness to him, for all Bush 43’s blundering and bufoonary, it was always the impression that he was at least attempting to do his best by those he served.
He had to respond to 9/11. Did he get everything right? No, the last lad that did that got crucified on a Good Friday. Bush II made a damn better attempt than the walking Orange Split soon to be banished. A prison cell may not be the worst accommodation option. Once the greatest nation on earth is now a shambollic laughing stock. And that’s all down to the man at the wheel.
What Donald J. Trump has done is fan the flames of hatred, demonise democracy and burn bridges rather than build them. Denegrating women, mocking the disabled, labelling racists “Good people” and basically be champion of and championed by white supremecists.
Some will probably decry my commenting on all this. They’ll say ‘You’re a sports writer, stay away from politics’. After they’ve disgested the tagline of this website (LIFE and sport from an armchair view) hopefully they might also recall that the supposed leader of the Free World – Jesus help us – admonishing Colin Kaepernick and other American Footballers when the Taking The Knee phenomenon – and it is that now – was in its formative stages.
If one wanted to stay on the sports theme, one need only think of the hassle he has put people in Scotland and Doonbeg, where he owns golf courses, through. The most worrying thing, mind you, is that there are people who will blindly follow his blathering and heinously declare themselves patriots when rioting and disrupting democracy in his name.
It would seem a fairly safe assumption that many Trump loyalists would not, in fact, be the sharpest tools in the box and would be quite easily led. Even if it happens to be very much a case of the blind leading the blind. The scary thing is, there were folks who saw this catastrophe coming down the tracks long before it dawned. People of influence. People such as Matt Groening and Seth McFarlane. Who, through their smash hit television programmes The Simpsons and Family Guy respectively. Both men wrote into their scripts plots which foretold Trump becoming President and all the chaos which would and rather scarily has turned out to ensue.
Blind loyalty from sycophantic, clueless supporters is one thing, but seeing educated, supposedly intelligent elected individuals not only agree with Trumpism but propagated it. None other than the Texas Senator Ted Cruz (Ironically dubbed ‘Lying Ted’ by Trump during the election campaign four years ago).
Cruz is obviously as much devoid of backbone as is he of principal. Such is the only plausible conclusion upon seeing him being a chief Trumpeteer after his vilification of the 45th Commander In Chief and the vitriol that was returned in his direction. As if all that flip flopping wasn’t galling enough, for him to then audaciously declare “We have seen and no doubt will continue to see a great deal of moralizing from both sides of the aisle,” he continued. “But I would urge to both sides, perhaps a bit less certitude and a bit more recognition that we are gathered at a time when democracy is in crisis.”
Of course it’s in crisis Ted because you and other overpaid idiots keep spewing verbal effluent which is not only blatantly wrong but highly dangerous. Not only by way of his embarrassing u-turn about Trump but his spewing of dross like but not confined to what’s quoted above. More dangerous, though, is that, while one would and/or should never be surprised by what washed up, irrelevant politicians will do anything in an attempt to maintain or resurrect whatever profile they have.
Seeing newer or at least younger politicians going down a similar path is not only disappointing, it’s potentially deadly dangerous. Witness, for example, the conduct and outbursts of the Republican Senator for Missouri Josh Hawler. Apparently he fancies himself as a future Republican runner for the top job. Dear God no, four years of Trump is enough and even after only knowing of Hawler for little more than a week, to observe his behavior and utterances is to conclude that it would only more of the same. But quite possibly infinitely worse.