Monday, March 07, 2016

The End of American Idealism

Charles M. Blow MARCH 7, 2016, NYT

Sometimes it’s hard to shake the uneasy feeling that we are witnessing the dissolution of an idea that was once America.

The country is still a military superpower and an economic and innovation powerhouse, but so many of our institutions are proving to be either fundamentally flawed or deeply broken.

This thought kept creeping into my mind as I watched Thursday’s Republican presidential debate in Detroit. It seemed to me the zenith of a carnival of absurdity, as the candidates descended into what appeared to be a penis measuring contest.

I kept thinking with dread, “One of these men might actually be the next president” — either the demagogue from New York, the political arsonist from Texas or the empty suit from Florida. (I see no path for the governor from Ohio.)

In another political season, liberals might greet such a prospect with glee. But this is not that season.

On the Democratic side, the leading candidate is a hawkish political shape shifter, too cozy with big money, whose use of a private email server has led to an F.B.I. investigation, and who most Americans don’t trust.

(Around two-thirds of Americans don’t trust either party’s front-runner.)

Her lone opponent is a self-described democratic socialist who seeks to cram sweeping generational changes — hinged on massive systemic disruptions and significant tax hikes — into a presidential term. And he says that he will be able to do this with the help of a political revolution, one that has yet to materialize at the polls.

(More here.)

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