The 2016 Presidential Campaign has fueled the fervor of the masses demonstrating the frustrations and conflicts Americans are challenged with every day. The gloves are off. The gloves are off — not just off between one political party and the opposing political party — but instead, removed between the individual and the government.
The gloves were removed in response to the anger Americans have seized in search of a better way. They held their tongues, they tried to behave non-violently and keep their hands to themselves. They let the government manage the wars. They let the government manage the terrorists. They let the government manage the corporations and “outsource” American jobs in the name of “peace.” They went along. We went along.
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Now, however, the individual is reacting. The individual from all parts of the world, from various societies, cultures and types of government system. From the terrorist to the everyday citizen, people are enraged. The outbursts at campaign events and the recent arrest of a campaign manager is reflective of the social and political environment in which we live. The frustration felt by Americans which is currently being demonstrated in both verbal and physical outbursts of emotional and sometimes violent behavior, is possibly more a reaction to the current State of the Union than in response to the words of one presidential candidate. The current State of the Union is the fuel to the proverbial fire. Whether victim or foe, the natives are restless.
The natives are restless causing societal and political unrest. Violence is increasing and governments respond with increased violence, bigger guns, and newer policies to control something or someone. Then, the next day, we read about how “free” we are. We read about our “democracy” while neglecting to the mention the mob psychology behind it.
In 1907, Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics, argued that “politics is not contained in an airtight compartment, unrelated to the community. Instead, it is one of the modes of expression of the basic moral habits of a group of people.” Men and women, observed Addams, had “become unhappy in regard to their attitude toward the social order itself; toward the dreary round of uninteresting work; the pleasure narrowed down to those of appetite, the declining consciousness of brain power, and the lack of mental food which characterizes the lot of the large proportion of their fellow-citizens.” The thoughts and feelings of the men and women in the early 1900s seem to reflect the same thoughts and concerns of the men and women in 2016. Despite great technological advances in information dissemination through telecommunication systems, combined with the speed of social media, not much social progress has really been achieved during the last 100 years.
Our presidential political campaigns seem to bring out the worst in people. This season it has brought out the worst in the politicians seeking office. The brash insults, counterattacks, computer violations, and the occasional violent behavior have reduced this campaign season to a global exhibit of the immorality of society and the individuals who want to govern it. What is even more insulting is what appears to be a lack of understanding of the true meaning of separation of Church and State. This lack of understanding is demonstrated by the candidates seeking governmental offices and also by the individual Americans who seem to have forgotten the many reasons our founding forefathers deserted England and wrote the Constitution of the United States.
We contradict our own stated morals every day in multiple ways. We are counterproductive and contradictory in both thought and deed. We argue and protest over our freedom of speech, yet fail to understand what freedom of the press has to do with it. We fail to keep the presses running and, thus, went paperless with our newspapers too. We lost historical data and chain-of-evidence also. We let our presidents push the press and then wonder who invaded our electronic inbox My Latest News.
The wide difference between politicians and constituents, concludes Addams, is the difference in their “daily experience”. The “well-to-do” of the community think of politics as something off by itself. They may conscientiously recognize political duty as part of good citizenship, explains Addams, “but political effort is not the expression of their moral or social life.” Politicians, it seems, experience a different reality regarding politics than does the average citizen.
Thus, the “reform movements,” particularly those started by business men and the better element, are almost wholly occupied in the “correction of political machinery” and with a concern for the better method of administration; rather than with the ultimate purpose of securing the welfare of the people, concludes Addams. They focus their attention on methods and, thereby, fail to consider the final aims of city government. Thus, reform movements tend to lose their educational value for the mass of people. The negativity and oppressive nature of this presidential campaign season is burdened with direct aggression and assertive accusations. This is in direct contrast to previous presidential campaigns filled with promises of hope everlasting and goodwill towards men – if elected.
Merlene is a researcher, writer and New Age journalist. Topics of specialization are usually related to human behavior, psychology, criminology, relationships, religion, society, ethics, politics, and more.