The Stockholm Syndrome

Like most of the United States, I followed the entire Kavanaugh hearings attentively on television. I was disappointed when they turned out to be purely a political drama. Especially when Sen Graham changed the tone of the hearings, and all the other Republicans followed. I won’t repeat here what has so vigorously been discussed on every medium for the last 24 hours.

This led me to thinking about my evolution in viewpoint throughout my life. I did not grow up following US politics, as I was raised in Europe. However, when I entered the workforce in New York, as a stockbroker in the early 70’s, my colleagues were Republican, so I voted for Nixon. It seemed the right thing to do. I listened to my colleagues and friends viewpoints, and what they said made sense to me. It wasn’t that I identified with all the values they espoused, but only with the ones that affected my life at the time. I was in the financial world, so a conservative attitude towards debt and money were paramount for me. The Liberals were called tree-huggers, and spendthrift. I loved trees, but not at the expense of common sense financially.

50 years later I am retired, and living in a community of artists in Mexico. You can virtually count the number of Republicans in this ex-pat community (over 15,000) with your fingers and toes. Not surprising, my viewpoint has shifted left. I am still a fiscal conservative, but that does not seem to matter in this day on constant “clickbait” reporting. My conservative old friends think Trump is saving the country, my new ones here feel he is destroying the country. It is a sad commentary on what was considered the beacon of the free world 50 years ago.

The U.S. has over 300 million people, and about half of them consider themselves Republican, and the other half Democrats. I have unfortunately watched the elected representatives move further away from the center, with every election.  Yesterdays performance during the hearing confirmed my fears. How can somebody from one extreme of the political spectrum represent the other 300 million justly? This goes for both sides. I disagree with many of the points that both parties are espousing. I also agree with many of the points that both parties are making. Today, it seems that people vote against the party that represents something that you vehemently dislike, about the other party, be it Roe vs Wade, or global warming, or balancing the budget.

One of the problems with the U.S. system is that they only have two parties that have any chance of getting elected. Other countries have created various parties, and in order to govern, have to make a coalition of the various parties representing the entire population. 

Perhaps it is time for Americans to stop thinking about themselves, and start thinking about the other 300 million as well, and their needs and wants? Alone you cannot rule righteously. A large part of the blame belongs to the media today. In order to attract advertisers, they polarize the viewpoints — click-bait. 

I think it is time to move towards the center and include everybody. Stop voting against your pet peeves and elect representatives that represent the entire country, if you want to make America great again.

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