I am an American – a proud American. Which explains why as I’ve experienced it, the 2016 presidential campaign has turned from comedy to tragedy. What once, I admit, I found somewhat funny, I now find somewhat sad, dispiriting, even frightening.
We know full well that in recent decades Americans’ faith in leaders of all stripes has been in sharp decline. We similarly know that Americans’ faith in their elected officials has led this list. Our political leaders are even less trusted than, for example, our business leaders. Moreover, the span is not narrow but wide. In mid- October only 24 % of Americans had “a fair amount of” of confidence in their political leaders, while fully 46% had a similar level of faith in their military leaders.*
These poll numbers are just two weeks old. Still, it’s safe to assume that now, one week before Election Day, they would be even lower. The last two weeks of the presidential campaign have been that bad – both major party candidates far, far less inspiring and trustworthy than any pair previous.
The tragedy to which I refer is not the campaign per se, but rather the years that will immediately succeed it. Given the muck and mire in which we’ve been stuck in the recent past, governance will be dauntingly difficult. I shudder to think of President Hillary Clinton trying to get legislation through Congress, trying to broker a deal with Republicans. I shudder even more to think of President Donald Trump trying to govern the country, trying to govern the beloved country sanely, securely, and sensibly.
*Pew Research Center, October 18, 2016.