Despite having fled the United States in 2005, shortly after, and as a direct result of, the election of George W. Bush to the presidency, this writer remains fascinated by U.S. elections. Like the passerby, morbidly gawking at a bloody auto accident, he is unable to stop listening to the bizarre pronouncements of the people who would be president. He is continually astonished at the egos of petty little men and women, of no real consequence in the world, somehow actually convincing themselves that an even moderately informed electorate would vote them into the most powerful office on the planet. Let us look at a few:
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, on September 29, made this amazing statement, regarding the recent Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country: “It is not the law of the land because it has not been affirmed by the people’s representatives”. He further said that this ruling on the Constitution by the Supreme Court, the body that has the final say on the Constitution, is, in his word, “unconstitutional”. One must ask what he thinks of past Supreme Court decisions on such things as civil rights, which were also not ‘affirmed by the people’s representatives’. Or perhaps a more simple case might be instructive to him. In 2000, the people spoke, and elected Vice President Al Gore as president, but the Supreme Court ruled that George Bush would be inaugurated. The Court made a ruling against which the people themselves voted. What does Mr. Huckabee have to say about this?
Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard who was unsuccessful in purchasing a California senate seat and is now bidding on the White House, also weighed in on marriage equality. On May 9, 2015, prior to the Supreme Court ruling on Obergerfell vs. Hodges, she said this. “The Supreme Court ruling will become the law of the land.” Interviewed by conservative radio host Jan Mickelson on Friday, September 25, she was asked about that statement. Ms. Fiorina made this remarkable response: “I actually—with all due respect Jan—I think that is a quote from someone else, not from me.” Unfortunately, this is difficult for Ms. Fiorina to deny, since her original statement is available on Youtube. But she did leave herself a caveat: she said later in the interview, when asked again, that she was “…not aware of having said that”.
Ben Carson (see comment about egos, above), also astounded this writer when he said this: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.” He further said that Islam is incompatible with the Constitution (whatever that means), and, regarding a candidate’s religious belief, “If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter.”
There is no point in discussing the concept of separation of church and state with Mr. Carson. Nor would there be any benefit in mentioning the irrationality of Islamophobia, or stating that it is as nonsensical as homophobia, since that is an argument that would hold no water with the illustrious Mr. Carson.
Mr. Carson continued to astonish: “”A lot of people in the minority community — contrary to popular opinion, all they want is a fair chance. All they want is an opportunity to succeed.” This says much about Mr. Carson’s opinion of both the ‘minority community’, when he says ‘a lot’ of people want a ‘fair chance’, and the rest of the nation, when he implies that their opinion of minorities is that they want something other than a’ fair chance’.
The fun continued, with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. When asked about the recent arrest of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamad of Texas, for bringing to school a home-made clock, Mr. Jindal said that, in the U.S., “We don’t discriminate based on color of skin or their creed”. He should, perhaps, check out Mr. Carson’s statements about Muslims. But even that is unnecessary. Later during the debate, Mr. Jindal said this: “Right now, the biggest discrimination going on is against Christian business owners and individuals who believe in traditional forms of marriage”. So, either, in the U.S., people do discriminate based on their creed (it would take too long to list even a small portion of the examples of discrimination of people based on the color of their skin, so we will just focus on Mr. Jindal’s creed-related statement here), or they don’t. You can’t have it both ways, Mr. Jindal.
Looking at the Democratic side, things are no better. Former Senator Hillary Clinton can never seem to give any speech without a shout-out to her most special friend, Israel. On September 9, 2015, when discussing the recent nuclear agreement with Iran, these pearls of wisdom dropped from her lips: “I wouldn’t support his (President Obama’s) agreement for one second if I thought it put Israel in greater danger.” She went on to reiterate her position on the agreement. “The United States will never allow [Iran] to acquire a nuclear weapon.” She further said that, as president, she “will not hesitate to take military action if Iran attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon”.
It might be worth considering why it is that the U.S. puts Israel on such a pedestal, while it ignores that country’s unspeakable human rights abuses and war crimes. It is also worth asking why the U.S. puts itself in a position to determine which countries will or will not be permitted to have nuclear weapons. Also, it gives one concern that Mrs. Clinton is willing to unilaterally march U.S. soldiers off to war. And if Mrs. Clinton is unable to see the disastrous results of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which she voted to support, and does not recognize that Iran is far better able to defend itself than Iraq ever was, and that it is far more likely that other nations would come to Iran’s aid than did to Iraq’s, then she certainly has no business running for president.
The U.S. is still more than a year from its next great display of faux democracy, wherein some limited percentage of the population will vote for candidates who have spent millions, and probably even billions, to purchase the election. The Republicans are all scrambling to the right; any talk of greater inclusiveness from the 2012 election result has all been lost. On the Democratic side, Mrs. Clinton is trying to cement her credentials with those with the largest check books; she is unconcerned about the individual voter, knowing that the GOP will frighten away many of them, leaving them with her as the only viable alternative.
The U.S. nominating crash scene will continue to enthrall; it’s only unfortunate that so much hangs in the balance, and the choices being served up are all equally unappetizing.