The Decline of Modern Politics

Since President Trump’s inauguration almost a month ago, the greater political system and culture of the United States has devolved into an increasingly intolerable state of affairs. There have been nationwide protests, political institutions are in a historic gridlock, and most damaging of all, a fundamental poisoning of public discourse. Across the U.S. a productive dialogue on almost any political issue is becoming increasingly harder and harder to find, much less engage in personally and in some cases, violence has been the end result. Dissecting this problem in what will hopefully not be a post-mortem analysis, produces no simple diagnosis and may only contribute to the dilemma further in paradoxical fashion. This in of itself delineates the severity of the crisis of modern politics; nevertheless, a revival of useful and honest conversation appears to be the only way forward.

An ever widening gulf between viewpoints and a lack of readily apparent common ground seems to be on the surface, the axiomatic origin of all political strife. In some developing countries afflicted by theocracy, authoritarianism and other such existential crises this is clearly the case, but the U.S. suffers no comparable reality. The growing meme of a fascistic Right and a suicidal Left has merely created the perception of such a fate and the media with all of their accompanying hysterics has exacerbated this dangerous falsity. Most current political issues when broken down, reveal a “chicken or the egg” fallacy that only leaves both sides blaming one another and the deeper question ignored. One would hope that at the end of this rabbit hole of futile discussion, that both sides would at least recognize that they both wish to address and solve the controversy by virtue of reconciliation and common bond; this is rarely the case. Interlocutors on both sides of the aisle have been fatigued by an often insurmountable obstacle of combatting ad hominem attacks and redeeming their reputation and legitimacy, before any fruitful discussion can occur. As a result, good natured consensus is tormented by a toxic brand of identity politics that sacrifices the mechanism of nonpartisan exchanges for petty obfuscations and willful ignorance of the matter at hand.

An evolving and deadly consequence of post-modernism and a technology-induced shortened attention span, has plausibly led the American public to incessantly subscribe to (if not require) labels for every minutia of political digestion. Ideas and even truths are not being considered solely on the merit of the perceived nature of the individual or institution espousing them; reason, logic and American political culture have suffered as a result. This sickness that has plagued the marketplace of ideas is pervasive to every institution from the highest office of the government right down to social media and the American household. What is most disturbing is that this illness is epidemic to the greatest bulwark against tyranny that a free and liberal society has, i.e. journalism. When even our longstanding media establishments forgo objective analysis for shallow clickbait and regressive delirium, then American society is left with a noxious paralysis that is truly exasperating to overcome. How can the United States tackle such issues as immigration, terrorism, economic growth and come to terms with the Trump presidency if we are all buried in the proverbial landslide of mud-slinging and inflammatory rhetoric.

President Trump is not blameless in all of this degeneracy and this must be accepted by himself and his supporters because the President can and must do better in the interest of healing a divided nation. So must the critics of the Trump administration acknowledge their reckless abandon to defame and oppose the President at an unacceptable cost; of which is paid for at their own self-evident peril. Even more urgent and most consequential is the dire need for progress to occur at level of the layman, who must refuse the worsening decadence of our political environment and rise above it. I have purposefully left out examples of the phenomenon I have mentioned because I want to challenge the reader to consider their own idealistic political beliefs and within that context, look for the sins mentioned in this writing and embrace what will hopefully become the creative destruction of political dichotomy.