Hamilton and Election 2016
November 5, 2016
Here’s my obligatory political diatribe as we sit mere days from the 2016 election. I don’t care who you vote for, but for goodness sake please do vote – and do it on your research into the various platforms and other facts. There’s too much BS floating around.
Reading (listening to the audio book of) the unabridged edition of Ron Chernow’s Hamilton biography, it’s incredible to see the parallels between today’s political discourse and the climate between the Federalists and proto-Republicans during George Washington’s two terms in as our nation’s first President. While neither side was innocent of hyperbole and politicking, the shear amount of innuendo and outright lies spewed by the Jeffersonian camp, which were then repeated treated as fact even after numerous complete and outright rebuttals in the courts and vindictive investigations in Congress, is outright shocking.
While it gives me hope that our country was able to persevere through that challenging and fractious period – as we hopefully will through the current one as well – it pains me how much we humans will outright lie for political gain. I’d love to see true debates on the prescient issues of our time instead of bullshit slander about meaningless trivialities. I’ve often joked that perhaps the ideal form of government is a benevolent dictatorship where none of this would even be needed or possible; the problem is you can never guarantee said benevolence. 😉
As Trevor Noah intimated yesterday in his talk at Microsoft, perhaps it would be better if our country had more than 2 parties and had more of a parliamentary system that gave an outlet for people of differing ideologies to truly have a voice. Does Trump truly speak for 100% of the beliefs and ideals of 100% of Republicans? Does Clinton offer the same for Democrats? Hardly.
It’s illogical that we have to choose between Sanders’ and Clinton’s visions for America, or between Trump and Ryan camps. All are valid to some people and we should let them all have a voice in our government proportional to their support. To me that would be far more “democratic” than the 2 party fiasco that characterizes every opinion by an extreme left/right taint we are governed by today.
Our leaders, and we as an electorate need need to understand not every idea someone else comes up with is absolutely wrong. Nor should we expect our politicians to hold rock-firm opinions that are intransigent in the face of new facts or points of view. It’s okay to be wrong; it’s not okay to be wrong and never admit it or correct your course. Conversely it’s not okay to never seek compromise either. There’s a grain of truth in all perspectives that must be acknowledged and incorporated in the final outcome – not ignored and shouted down.
Alas those holding the power today are the same ones who would have to agree to change, and it’s not in human nature to give up power voluntarily. It’s frankly amazing that Washington did that 200+ years ago, a precedent that held true, though not always by choice, until FDR in the 1930s and 40s. It will be interesting to see if any progress is made here after this election; and I don’t mean in the next 4 years. What will be the lasting impact of this election season on our youth? Hopefully when today’s middle and high schoolers watching this election in their Civics classes grow up they remember how stupid us adults have been behaving and do something about it (and I don’t mean become apathetic). I have a feeling this election will change this country a great deal, no matter who becomes the 45th President of the United States.
If you’ve got a spare 36 hours and a library card (for free access to both the physical and/or the audio book), I highly recommend investing your time with this well-balanced and thoroughly researched tome. History isn’t just dates to memorize and lists of Presidents to put in the right order; there are deeper lessons to draw from that I fear our country has been overlooking.
If nothing else, this book will raise your vocabulary game tremendously and it inspired Hamilton: An American Musical, so it can’t be all that bad. 🙂