Living in France isolates one from much that is happening in the world. It’s not that the news is less bleak, though it’s true that very little of it appertains to the country itself, but it seems more impersonal, less involving, than in America or even Britain. Despite the appallingly tragic terrorist crimes in Paris last November, and the Charlie Hebdo massacre before that, people in France don’t appear overly concerned by the threat of terrorism. This is probably because there’s strength in unity, and the French people are united – across the nation, and across party lines.
There’s a piece by Vanessa Barford today in the BBC Magazine, entitled, “Why are Americans so angry?” Having lived there for thirteen years, I find that question easy to answer. Americans no longer have any trust in anything, least of all, themselves as a nation. Sadly, they don’t even trust each other. One constantly hears talk of, “…the good guys and the bad guys…” yet no-one is quite sure just who fits into either category. The ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’ seem to maintain a shadowy co-existence, even within law enforcement.
Americans have lost all sense of security, in themselves and in each other. It’s partly the inevitable result of a Superpower writhing in its death throes and slowly spiraling downwards from the pinnacle of power it once possessed. According to Barford’s report, well under a third of Americans still believe the US, ‘stands above all other countries in the world’, and who do they blame the most? Their government, of course.
Which is not without good reason. The British parliamentary system has its problems, including ever-increasing corruption, but they’re infants at the game compared to their compatriots across the pond. Lining the pocket, stuffing the billfold, the revolving door of politico-corporate career advancement, are all well-practiced arts to US politicians, not just in Washington, but throughout the nation.
The effect has been to polarize the supporters of political parties to a point reminiscent of medieval Britain, where Protestant and Catholics were at each others throats and the idea of inter-marriage was unthinkable.
Democrats and Republicans have become more ideologically polarised than ever. The typical (median), Republican is now more conservative in his or her core social, economic and political views than 94% of Democrats, compared with 70% in 1994, according to Pew Research. The median Democrat, meanwhile, is more liberal than 92% of Republicans, up from 64%.
The study also found that the share of Americans with a highly negative view of the opposing party has doubled, and that the animosity is so deep, many would be unhappy if a close relative married someone of a different political persuasion.” [my bold]
None of this bodes well for America, or the world. It’s superiority is slipping away, and in an effort to bolster the nation’s ego its politicians are happy to warmonger against Russia, dragging much of the world with it into another Cold War, which could eventually turn hot. As the present incumbent of the White House reaches the twilight of his Presidency, matters look set to take a turn for the worse.
With four likely hopefuls for the title, only one is capable of turning America around and giving it hope for the future, and he is the one least likely to succeed. Of the others, Clinton is Washington establishment, meaning more of the same, and both Cruz and Trump are merely egos with a cause. Unfortunately, neither’s ’cause’ is likely to prove good for America, or the rest of the world.
Sadly, none of the four are likely to re-unite Americans. The schisms are too deep. Americans are hopelessly divided.
A lion used to prowl about a field in which four oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarrelling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in the separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.
United we stand, divided we fall.” ~ Aesop
And that’s the difference between France and America. France is a united country. It’s government is still “of the people, by the people, for the people”, and the French would soon bring its government to its knees if it tried to be any different.
The American people have allowed their government to become corrupt. “Of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations.” As a result they feel unrepresented and isolated. Which, of course, is true.
Yet, its my bet they’ll still vote Cruz, or Trump, or Clinton, into the White House come November.
 “Why are Americans so angry” BBC, February 4th 2015