Opinion: The American catharsis

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

It’s contagious! In arguing for a return of the capital punishment in the form of the guillotine and public executions Maine Governor Paul LePage joked about where the severed head might land.

This just days after Donald Trump quipped, “I could shoot somebody in Times Square and not lose any support.”

When are our leaders and would-be leaders going to talk sense to the American people instead of trying for school yard boasting and juvenile behavior?

In answer to the threat posed by ISIS you may recall that Senator Ted Cruz bellowed that he would carpet bomb the whole region and “see whether the desert sand glows.” Another nifty one liner sure to please all his angry supporters who also agree with him that New Yorkers are “values challenged.”

And of course now with Sarah Palin back on center stage promoting Donald Trump I am sure we can expect to be showered with more faux folksy Palinisms that would have made Yogi Berra cringe.

The point is that this country faces real and serious problems and in response we get sound bites and foolish and dangerous proposals intended to further rile up the candidate’s voter base while doing nothing to either elevate politics or offer serious solutions or even engage in constructive dialogue.

Frankly six months ago I figured that the Republican field of candidates would have now been winnowed down to a serious and adult-minded few, which by definition would have excluded the aforementioned Messrs. Trump or Cruz.

Instead their brand of toxic talk and preposterous proposals seems to be spreading like a virus amongst the Grand Old Party which is beginning to more resemble a party scene from the movie “Animal House” (with apologies to John Belushi) than the Republican Party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, or even Ronald Reagan.

When candidates for high office spew the kind of venom towards their opponents and anyone else who disagrees with them it sends a signal to people that respect and civility is not necessary in our political process or even amongst fellow citizens. And when those politicians heap scorn on foreigners and other minority groups, well, we are then slipping into very dangerous territory indeed.

But the real question is, does Trump or Cruz reflect the views of just a fairly small percentage of the American electorate, albeit a significant swath of the Republican nominating voters, or has the broader public become so embittered, so cynical and so polarized that they will support any person who preaches easy answers and blames our national problems on those who are not traditional Americans or natural born citizens?

Can it be that for the comfort of voting for a person who offers simplistic solutions and muscular slogans Americans are prepared to embrace the politics of rage over reason, and cynicism over intelligent and informed consideration? As an avid political observer of our times I am eager to know the answer… I am also a little bit afraid.

5 thoughts on “Opinion: The American catharsis

  1. If we don’t stop hating one another, there will soon be no need for a President.
    We must bring back respect for human life and fast.
    Shooting, slashing, punching, bullying must be addressed at home and in our schools.
    When it reaches this level, and it has, “it ain’t good”.

  2. Assemblyman Steve Sanders,

    My parents let me know that as the Democrats were for the regular folks … far more so than the Republicans who were for the wealthy. Yes there was a degree of validity in their remarks. But, the free market economics and capitalism benefited most including the middle class which is the backbone of a viable democracy.

    But, when Sen. McCann in desperation selected Sarah Palin to be his running mate in 2008, the G. O. P. went off the tracks completely. Further presidential caucuses and primaries became vulgar and idiotic clown car circuses. And, the cognitively challenged Palin … led to Trump who makes his business success and poll numbers sans any substance as his stump speeches and add gratuitous middle school insults with uncommon arrogance. He never mentions that he inherited the Trump Company from his father … as he prefers the electorate to believe that he did it all by himself.

    The implications of the Republican debate with Trump, Cruz and even Rubio and… assure me that we are going through troubled waters … and the future looks bleak and threatening.

  3. The Democratic party is so full of corruption and incompetence that Joe/Jane sixpack has finally woken up. Not in NY but elsewhere. The revolution has begun.

  4. Steve Sanders continues his biased meanderings. The Republicans are the PT Barnum show of the 21st century. That’s apparent to all watching. But what about the Dems?

    The … most … terrifying … speech … last eve was Bernie Sanders victory marathon (I mean lap) speech. I implore every reader to watch it. It is scary, very scary. But uber-liberal Steve S., still attempting to suck on the teet of the NYC democratic machine, won’t say a thing about the Dems, except to say a few weeks ago not to throw mud (oooh, that’s the way to take a stand on Dem politics!).


      It’s HUGE! Sanders is intelligent, articulate and authentic. Of course, you can disagree with his comments … but, Trump is insulting all Americans with his egomaniacal and insulting remarks all which promise that “America will be great again” and as he quotes his high poll numbers and lacking any substance or who he intends to accomplish his goals. And, as far as his military expertise he alludes to obtaining his information from watching TV.

      He acts as though he created his fortune … but, rarely alludes to that it was inherited from his father who began the Trump Company.

      Mr. Trump is destroying the G, O, P, as a viable national party … not to mention our always fragile democratic republic.

      Yes, counter Sanders’ philosophy … but not his unusual articulate rhetoric.

      And, why does the Republican establishment want to get rid of “the Trumpster”?


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