We live in such interesting and exciting times – which time-tested Chinese wisdom says ought to be avoided on penalty of being cursed. Dickens, however would be in his glory, and say, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” Wow, reading that gem of timely wisdom leaves one breathless!
Two dozen candidates started out seeking POTUS 45; all are gone from this wretched and ignoble 2016 race except Trump, Hillary and Bernie. Just last week, Russia‘s president Putin charmingly told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that the United States is the sole Superpower. The world’s nations’ geo-political calculus is in a tizzy – unable to even rely upon Jimmy the Greek in Vegas, as nobody knows what will be.
Of them, Hillary has broken the Final Glass Ceiling as the presumptive Democratic Nominee. Hillary of course is beyond experienced in world and domestic affairs, given her tenure of public service and her engaging in same as a happy cook does in a kitchen: with abandon, to whip up an exciting meal. Of course, the clean-up of the “dust up” is a job for others. It’s worth noting that after Barack Obama absolved us of our original Sin – slavery – by being elected as the present day lofty Mark Anthony – he met with Bernie in the Oval Office and issued a most moving video endorsement of Hillary across the cold digital divide, sans the glow and warmth of a June Day in the Rose Garden, standing shoulder to shoulder, as he did with the ever-loveable Joe Biden, the natural champion of the Middle Class.
Undeniable it is that Bernie has lit the imagination of millions upon millions of Americans who feel that their American Dream was defalcated while Wall Street and other Power & Money centers in USA got obese, repeatedly, beyond AIG’s Credit Swaps, with TARP money – trillions of dollars taken from beat up Main Street and the perpetual Poor, itself a sin in America, for Wall Street. The same Wall Street, which crashed the world’s economy in 2007 and did a Harry Houdini act with every American’s 401k and had home-equity go deep sea diving; conduct unbecoming a person with honor, if not outright criminally offensive. Bernie supporters want the 1789 Viva La France “guillotined heads” from our institutions of government. Of course, Bernie sits waiting to be asked to speak in Philadelphia and be crowned the Hard Working American’s Champ, as well as waiting for Straight Arrow FBI Director James Comey, of Ashcroft-Alberto Gonzales fame recorded by Preet Bharara as Chuck Schumer’s Chief Counsel, and fearlessly Impartial AG Loretta Lynch – who will do what the law demands and her Honor-based Oath. The question everyone wonders, will lightning actually strike, but more importantly, will it strike before July 25th. Law, it should be known, is at its best when it ignores human and political calculus of self-gain, and does what it must, or not at all, if it can’t. Human honor, differs from Law’s honor; the former is more compassionate by comparison.
I pause to recall with emphasis that when the late great Socrates walked the Agora and frustrated the powerful in the direct democracy that was Athens, his reward for seeking accountability of government was a double-Hemlock death syrup for a frail 70-year old who merely asked, “Why?” Our democracy has discovered that representative democracy is needed to permit deliberation, rather than mere mob-rule that is emotion-driven or emotionally excited to silly heights and depths. Luckily, we have circuit breakers beyond the ballot box, as in the Electoral College. The Two Party system is another circuit breaker. The media, when functions properly, is another circuit breaker. However, since the Arab spring, social media has done to mainstream media what the atom bomb did to Hiroshima. In case my point is unclear, let me state it thus: social media can take representative democracy and make it act like direct democracy of Athens.
And then there is Trump; the OMG candidate for president of these United States. In a civilian businessman capacity, he loved being called The Donald. Now, it is the distant: Mr. Trump. The Trump candidacy, if it can be called that, when it’s actually a mudfest, is a perfect recipe for social media to love or hate, but never ignore. Unique to Trump is that he has earned a very lofty status during this campaign: The Teflon Tongue. Ask any politician and they will give up both legs and arms to be so blessed by the electorate. It took Ronald Reagan all the way past the Iran-Contra affair in 1986 to win the Teflon President title. Recall as you must, that in the Carolinas on the same day Donald Trump called Pope Francis disgusting, because the Pope deems a good Christian to build bridges not walls of separation, and later the same evening Trump professed his love and respect for Pope Francis while attacking the media for misreporting the Pope. All that aside, is it not amazing that Donald Trump has electrified a slice of Americana that yearns for the America of yesteryears – when political correctness did not hide the evil that can lurk in a human heart, but allowed it to flourish in broad daylight proudly.
The ultimate question each of us must answer is this: as a citizen of the most exceptional nation in human history, which has guaranteed freedom of speech, press, association and religion, and an unending pursuit of happiness, must such a great nation serve only the selfish needs of one man or one woman or one family, or must it continue to be the beacon in human history that it is strong, compassionate, daring, defiant, disruptive, innovative, welcoming, confident, fearless, and other attributes of human heroes across the globe have defined by their deeds over time – for that is what America is and what every American can be.
I want an American President worthy of the American citizenry: hard-working, loyal, and honorable.
Oh, there is one ultimate circuit breaker in our great representative democracy, a nation of laws: the law itself. What government does not know how to do properly or justly, or refuses to do at all, the law will make it so.”
The author is an eminent attorney based in New York. He can be reached at [email protected]