SAN JOSE, October 4, 2016 – Hillary Clinton claims that Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is meaningless; America is already great. Her claim is a borderline denial of reality.
There is a disconnect between her claim and the reality of attacks upon American soil by radical Islamist terrorists; between her claim and the deadly violence in American cities, high unemployment, and a $19 trillion national debt that has doubled under President Obama.
Clinton has been accused by her detractors of lying, though it might be a case of approaching everything from the standpoint of “what difference does it make?”
Despite attacks from the Democratic Party, the media and establishment Republicans, Trump’s campaign is still alive. He is still pursuing his goal to “make American great again.” None of the many former GOP contenders would have been able to weather such an onslaught and remain standing.
Clinton herself has survived one scandal after another and avoided indictment. But beyond a knack for survival, the contrasts between her and Trump are stark.
On the one hand is an egotistical, unpolished, outsider who says he has a plan to get America back on its feet, back to work, and focused on what made it great in the past.
On the other hand is a woman who has bent the law on multiple occasions, who is careless with the truth and who will pursue the course set by President Obama over the last eight years.
The matchup is between the ultimate outsider and the ultimate insider.
The first President of the United States, George Washington had some insights that are relevant to the presidential election today. His 32-page Farewell Address, published in September, 1796 puts things in perspective for 2016. Here are the words of a man who dedicated his life to—and put his life and fortune on the line for—public service:
Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.
The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.
For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. (Emphasis added.)
Washington told Americans to see themselves as Americans, not as members of political parties. He warned in fact against parties, which would undermine loyalty to country.
His words went unheeded in 1860. Now there is really just one political party, and it has no qualms in fostering division and disloyalty to the Union. Loyalty to Party has replaced loyalty to country, just as Washington predicted.
Political divides and party loyalty almost destroyed the Union in the 1860s. Party loyalty is as insidious and dangerous now as it was before the Civil War.
Gone are leaders like Truman and Kennedy. There is little love for America left among the leaders of that Party. Its leaders may call themselves “Americans,” but they are not.