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The Battle for America's Soul

By       Message carol wolman, MD       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   30 comments

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The 2016 presidential campaign is different from many others, in that is unscripted, a true reality show. The candidates offer a stark contrast, between advocates of hatred and violence, and advocates of tolerance and peaceful negotiation. The intense feelings on both sides have polarized this nation as never before. The choices are stark and clear.

On the demonic side, we have Donald Trump and the other Republican candidates. Their debates consist mostly of hurling insults at one another. They foment paranoia about minorities of all stripes. They lie shamelessly, saying whatever they think will attract attention and votes.

They play to the worst elements in the American psyche- racism, xenophobia, viciousness,- and stir up those qualities with their campaigns.

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Donald Trump, in particular, is being compared to Hitler and Mussolini, demagogues who practiced genocide, gloried in torture, and used "national greatness" to incite their peoples to wage World War II. Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again" echoes these fascist leaders. He encourages violence; at one event, he said he missed the good old days when protesters were removed from rallies on stretchers. He wants to bring back waterboarding. His campaign has mobilized people who are sick of the current system, and are happy to vent their spleen on foreigners, minorities, and anyone who disagrees with their hero.

All the Republican candidates advocate tax policies that would enrich the already wealthy. Trump is a billionaire, the others are supported by and pander to billionaires. They advocate war and militarism.

Worst of all, they are all climate change deniers. In this year of accelerating global warming, that is a heinous crime for anyone aspiring to be president of the United States. Ignoring the effects of fossil fuel usage and pollution of all sorts on the biosphere is condemning humanity, and many other species, to a miserable future.

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It's astonishing that these men get much of their support from people who call themselves Christians! Where is America's soul?

Hillary Clinton appears to be somewhere in the middle- down to earth, practical, experienced, striving to improve matters gradually by way of politics as usual. The problem here is that politics as usual has resulted in global warming, vast and increasing inequality between rich and poor, and endless war.

Many people in this country are cynical, mistrustful of everyone, seeing all campaign speeches as mere rhetoric. Hillary at least knows the ropes, and is a familiar name, so why not vote for her? She'll get things done.

But Hillary's record shows that she has not been vigorous in addressing climate change and her proposals are vague, she is beholden to banks and mysterious superpacs, and as Secretary of State, she has embroiled us in new wars in the Middle East. She appeals to the wealthy, to corporate interests, and to people afraid of change. She is the candidate of the status quo, of corporate capitalism.

However, we can no longer afford the status quo. Change is desperately needed, and quickly, if we are to have a habitable planet in the next hundred years. The problem with corporate capitalism is that it is driven by greed and the imperative to make profit for the stockholders. This is incompatible with survival. It's shortsighted, stupid, and downright evil, in 2016.

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Our heritage as a nation starts with the American Revolution. It was a radical break from the past, a bold experiment in government of, by and for the people. Our country has strayed far from these values.

We need a new revolution, to bring back the Bill of Rights, restore liberty and justice for all, and above all, to deal realistically with the huge challenges of our times- climate change, nuclear pollution, vast inequalities of wealth, etc.

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Carol S. Wolman, MD is a psychiatrist in Northern California. A lifelong peace activist, she is helping to distribute a Peace Plan for the Holy Land- email her for a copy. She also a film producer with Paradise Cove Productions.

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