American politics descend into barbarism

Carsten Savage

BY CARSTEN SAVAGE (’17)

The Pledge of Allegiance states that we are “one nation” and are “indivisible” as a united people. While we have been divided in ideology, gender, race and wealth, we have accepted other Americans as equals and have treated them respectfully over many generations. Today, however, that is no longer occurring.

The strife started with the primaries in which Trump set an unprecedentedly low standard of civility. The manner in which Trump annihilated Jeb Bush stunned the masses, warning them about what was to come in the remainder of the primaries and throughout the presidential race. Trump utilized basic insults and memorable phrases that literally tore his competitors apart, and his supporters followed; they became quick to hurl violent threats at African-Americans, Hispanics and women.

Then, Clinton commented that “half” of Trump supporters should be dumped in a “basket of deplorables,” suggesting that millions of Americans- those who may one day live under her administration- are terrible people. With this remark, Clinton demonstrates hostility towards a large portion of the American populace.

Political candidates usually do dislike each other, but we expect them to stay reasonably courteous no matter what occurs to them during the presidential race. Trump never should have used the derogatory language he has, as this has biased the media against him. Likewise, Hillary’s despising Trump supporters suggests that she may not treat every American the same once elected. In contemporary society, how can anyone believe that he or she can deliver Trump’s extremely derogatory insults without paying a price in the future? And how could Clinton ever become President after exemplifying that she hates many of those over whom she wishes to preside?

We cannot restart the election, but we should learn from it, and the best role-models to guide us in the future are Barack Obama and Mike Pence. Barack Obama is one of the most civil politicians in recent memory, succeeding in treating both Democrats and Republicans with all the respect that they deserve. Mike Pence, too, demonstrated impressive decorum during the Vice-Presidential debate. These two men have retained the courtesy that many others- such as Trump, Clinton, and Tim Kaine- have lost, and we need to make it clear that a polite mannerism is what we expect from those competing for the country’s highest office.

There are suspicions that Clinton and Trump are corrupt, but in even the most corrupt politician we demand to see respectfulness. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that they’ve already failed us.