There is a previous post that I have written that may be taken as “political” due to its implications in gay marriage in the United States, but I wanted to keep it strictly scientific and spiritual to shut down an argument I always here from proponents of the morality of gay marriage. This post however, I think will “almost” be purely political with a slight spiritual teaching in the middle and at the end. This is a topic that I think is exemplified by the political arena we are part of today in the United States. What I hope to discuss is:
1. The nature of politics
2. The nature of politicians
3. The nature of the people voting for politicians
We have an election race going on in this country. It is a very interesting race, because on the one hand, you have the typical duopoly of the political party system dominating the media, but on the other hand, the duopoly is a little uneven. You have the Democratic party dominated by one pre-ordained political “winner”, Hillary Clinton, whose only “real” challenger is Bernie Sanders who does have essential disagreements. You have a Republican party dominated by a “party” in the teenage sense of the word, with a crowded line of politicians vying, if not for the Presidency, for some position in the Cabinet, it seems to me!
Because the media revels in controversy, there seems to be one masterful media personality that not only is controversial, but shockingly ahead in the polls. He is Donald Trump. Initially thought to be the clown of politics, now he is more like the icon of things politicians wish they said but are too scared to say it, that is if you like the Donald. On the other hand, he is seen as someone with a very clear case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and any person with intelligence should be able to take him with a grain of salt. But is that really the case? He is up in the polls, if not ahead in many instances! Do the Republican constituents like narcissists or are they just idiots?
Harsh words? Yes, they are! Let us take the most recent example of this case. Trump vs. McCain! Trump decided to insult McCain as someone who is not a national hero because he was captured. He “likes soldiers who are not captured”. Now he is backtracking and making his statement sound like as he if was talking about “two types of heroes”, and the ones who do not get captured “get no attention”. It is an interesting move, but a weak one at best, since he made it clear he does not think McCain is a hero, and like a true patient suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, he takes an extreme position from character praising to character assassination (did you know McCain graduated last in his undergrad class), just as he did with Hillary Clinton (where he thought she was one of the greatest Secretaries of State, and now that he is running in potential opposition to her, she is one of the worst).
But while the media is concentrating on the stupidity and demonic traits of Donald Trump, it seems the media did not recognize the political sly move of John McCain. McCain, like an intelligent therapist who knows the psychology of Trump, provoked Trump by calling his followers “crazies”. I tend to agree that anyone voting for Trump are “crazies”, but Trump turned this around to lump all these “crazies” as “veterans”, and McCain is not a true hero because “he did nothing for veterans” except “talk”. And this is where it is interesting to watch how this plays out. McCain like the true politicians, knows exactly how to play chess with Trump and help his fellow Republicans perhaps force Trump into checkmate out of the presidential race. His reply was a humble one: “Trump should apologize for all the POWs…I am not a hero, but” the rest of the POWs are. Any intelligent politician would expect very clearly that McCain would say that. No one should be surprised, and here’s my controversial part, no one should be admired by what McCain said either. Here’s why…
MCCAIN IS A POLITICIAN!!! Once you become a politician, it is very difficult to tell whether something is said to be sincere or not. If McCain was not a politician, but doing great community service for veterans away from the political arena, such words are very likely to be taken as sincere. But once you are a politician, the sincerity of these words should be questioned because they cause a move in the game of politics for reaction against someone. I am not saying that McCain was not sincere. I am saying that McCain is a politician and a politician’s words are never clear for its true intentions.
Trump has proven himself either to be a smart politician by using his controversial remarks to his advantage for the Media popularity (draining out popularity from other Republican candidates), or one of the biggest idiots who does know how to play politics, and continually shooting himself in the foot. McCain is a brilliant politician, and has provided the move that may have allowed Trump to take the bait and shoot himself in the femoral artery, let alone his foot.
The story of John McCain as a POW is inspiring and has great moral and ethical value for all humanity to learn from. But once McCain chose to be a politician, all words are suspect. I certainly lost respect for him when he tried to get the nation to fight against Assad with the so-called “Free Syrian Army” filled with Islamists. He tried again, vainly, to do the same in Egypt, trying to support the legitimacy of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group who gave birth to Wahhabi terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS. And when the United States went through a financial kerfuffle right before the 2008 election between himself and Obama, all the talk about being against “pork bills” during his election was thrown right out the window when he voted for a bill to save our nation from economic collapse that is filled with a deadly metastasis of pork legislation. He is a flip-flopper and he is a politician. He is not always honest, but that is what a politician should always do. Did McCain stand against Bob Dole’s comments on Kerry’s purple hearts? The Democrats rightfully in their game of chess against Republicans, are using this against the whole Republican establishment, but do not confuse this for hypocrisy; politicians are not hypocrites by accident, but by career, based on the game they play at the right moment in the right time. Just as it can be said that the Muslim Brotherhood gave birth to ISIS, the Democrats are pretty much saying that the Republicans gave birth to the monster, Donald Trump (a good chess move by the Democrats, not a real revelation of truth though; have we also forgotten about the Bush vs. McCain campaign?). It is a very convincing tone, and really has me wondering: should I continue to be registered under the party with this many “crazies” falling in love with Trump’s narcissistic campaign? And another question: should I be registered to any political party that have the same number of “crazies” in them falling for the type of smearing we see? In light of all of this, I think we should not underestimate Trump yet. The history of “hypocrisy” can be a good chess countermove for Trump.
So let me give you a few pointers that I hope all people in the world, not just Americans, can use as a measuring stick for their voting in this and future election seasons:
1. The nature of politics is like a chaotic game of chess. It is a Machiavellian principle. The end to win in elections justify the means it is to be done. Laws are passed to put this Fascist principle in check, and thank God for the US Constitution, it also puts in check any way for politicians to justify the means by which they might become dictators. Politics has always been this evil. That is the nature of politics since ancient times of humanity. If “checkmate” in the chess of politics is “rule over the people”, politicians will fight for this in one way or another. Somehow, in the US, we managed to stay principled in human rights and democracy (to the best we can; there are always hypocritical and inconsistent principles in our history) while allowing politicians to take out their pent-up unconscious fascist practices through a medium that does not directly hurt anyone or violate anyone’s rights. This is perhaps the genius behind the US Constitution, and it is worthy of some praise in the history of our own progress as a human species.
2. A true politician understands this game and can play it very well. They know that politics, like war, is a necessary evil, and they have to get their hands dirty to achieve some conceived notion of “good” for the nation in the end. Some politicians are very principled people, who are forced in a position to play politics, hoping that their principles may win for the betterment of the nation. People like Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul can be considered as good examples for this. They have very principled views, but they will cave into lying and political maneuvering in hopes that they may win and help the nation with what they believe to be in the nation’s best interests. McCain may also be sincere, but as a politician, he seems to be the more moderate approach. He has some principle as a “Republican”, but he can occasionally be a “Maverick” for some compromises he feels may help his state and the nation at large. Assuming these politicians are not narcissists in their personalities like Trump (who only seems to want to further his own resume rather than help the nation), if they ever retire from politics, they will probably go through a retiring time of “penance”, where they will go through some sort of “detox” from their former selves into community service. In one of my future “spiritual political posts”, I would like to discuss what I mean by penance, and proper Christian penance for them. But to get a taste of “penance”, the ancient Church father St. Basil the Great once wrote a canon that made it mandatory for a soldier in war to go through a period of penance before taking the Eucharist, as a time of “rehabilitation”. He also made it illegal for any soldier who killed in war to be allowed to be ordained in any of the holy orders, diaconate, presbyter, or bishop. In my opinion, politicians should be part of that list, and probably more strictly so than soldiers.
3. Because politics is Machiavellian, and politicians can intelligently play the game well for an assumption that they can achieve a greater good for the nation, it assumes that the people who vote for the politicians are stupid, or sub-intelligent at best. So a game of rhetoric is required to sway the people to vote for them in order for them to “win” the game. And this is the most damning part of my post today. We are all retarded for swallowing the whole Trump vs. McCain controversy as a narcissist vs. hero situation. We must first remove the masks they wear that the Media loves to suck in, and if we as a people are intelligent enough, should be able to see the situation for what it really is: politician vs. politician. Unfortunately, people are not that smart, and that is not only Republicans, but also Democrats! The gay marriage debate to me is evident of the lack of intelligent discussion I think that occurs between Democrats. And if anyone thinks people like Clinton (both of them) and Obama are honest and sincere and true heroes for emotionally charged people to vote for, I am sorry to say, just because one is the first black President and the other has the potential and good likelihood of being the first female president only proves how unintelligent the field is, drowning out more serious candidates like Bernie Sanders (and remember Obama flip-flopped on gay marriage just to win Evangelical votes. And did we forget about Reverend Wright? Barack and Michele were not even religious). But do not be fooled, Sanders, Obama, and Clinton have something in common with Bush, McCain, Trump, and Rand Paul; they are all politicians, and they will deceive you in one way or another. So the smart person should be able to vote on what the principles of these men stand for, not on who they are, and take everything they say with a grain of salt (Sanders for example is an independent who knows he stands no chance to be president as an independent; so like a true politician, he runs under the moniker of the Democratic party, despite how this contradicts part of his principles. That is a Machiavellian practice). But evidently, due to the duopoly of the political system and the popularity polling numbers on candidates, it is very easy for me to agree with the politicians in the field who enter politics with a sense that we are dealing with a mass population of backward Americans who are ready to eat up anything a politician says. And nothing exemplifies this more than the Trump vs. McCain controversy.
This leads me to think maybe a truly intelligent person is an independent who is not involved in party politics. Maybe it is about time for me to de-register from the Republican party, and stop with the illusion that I should be loyal to one party no matter who the person is running for it. I think it is time for to start being an intelligent American and become an independent, and see politics for what it truly is (and yes, I am insinuating that you are stupid if you are registering for a party), a necessary evil that a Christian should hope one day may not become “necessary”, and I think the Coptic Church should start teaching people this, rather than encourage a choice of politician based on “morality” or “heroic deeds” for a nation. I would think the more honest and Christian approach in the political atmosphere we live in today is to be an activist and to be a community servant for the under-privileged in society, and to always be suspicious of any politician, no matter who they are or what they stand for, even if it be St. Constantine or the empress St. Theodora or His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie themselves! I am not saying we should be completely divorced from politics, but much like Martin Luther King in the past, who although may not have been doctrinally Orthodox, he had excellent Christian principles that we can learn from today for the whole world to adopt and to live up to.