Have you ever seen anything like it? The slanderous comments, open bitterness, name calling, continuous personal attacks and the totally divisive rhetoric cast by the candidates – deplorable, just plain deplorable. Important issues are overshadowed by the constant negativity and exploitation of the opposing political candidate’s personal life, business failings, scandals as have never been seen before.
The mean spirited comments and utter unprofessional conduct of the candidates for the job as the President of the United States is appalling. Friends become enemies and family members split because of political differences. Fights have broken out and people carried away, some arrested. Others, having so much disdain for one another literally cross the street in avoidance and in a few cases a couple of men took up arms and shot at each other – leaving one man killed.
Crazy, isn’t it? Unlike anything we have ever seen before.
Those are the expressions and thoughts of newspaper commentators, political activists, politicians, lobbyists, special interest groups and citizens as they voiced their concern during the crazy election year.
Election year 2016? Nope, the year was 1800.
That’s right, the year was 1800, some 226 years ago, and that disturbing, atrocious and unprofessional conduct was being carried out by presidential candidates Thomas Jefferson and John Adams during the 1800 presidential election cycle. Jefferson and Adams were so vehemently opposed to one another that this despicable behavior permeated their campaigns.
Today, political commentators, analyst, politicians from both parties, the media and fellow citizens are running around claiming that this election cycle is “so unlike anything we have ever seen and these candidates are not acting presidential.” Everyone is saying that the poor behavior of the candidates is a clear indication that our society is in steep decline and this election cycle highlights just how low we have fallen.
But lest we forget about the “Revolution of 1800” as it is known in the history books.
During that dramatic election year there were great differences of opinion concerning foreign policy, taxation, the role and size of the federal government and immigration. These issues seriously divided the delicate new Republic which at that time had only elected two presidents – George Washington and John Adams.
Many of these heated discussions and debates led to ungentlemanly and violent conduct as was the case when two congressmen broke out into a fist fight on the floor of Congress and another when the Speaker of the House was stabbed. Even worse was the conflict between sitting Vice President Aaron Burr and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton which culminated in the famous Burr – Hamilton duel of 1804.
Think about it, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, both of whom were Founding Fathers and top executives of our new government, travelled to Weehawken, New Jersey to settle their dispute by means of an armed duel. The outcome being that VP Burr ultimately shot and killed Secretary Hamilton on the cliffs overlooking the Hudson River.
Without a doubt, the political landscape and history of our county has seen several revolutions of sorts since our founding. I would submit that this 2016 Presidential election year will be placed in the history books as yet another political revolution.
The parallels between that crazy election year of 1800 and today are uncanny as it seems as though we are debating and fighting about the same issues – immigration, foreign policy, big government, taxes, etc.
This 2016 political revolution isn’t constrained to only one party either. The democrats with Bernie Sanders are in the midst of a complete overhaul of their party as they do some serious soul searching for what the Democratic Party even stands for. Bernie Sanders will no doubt go down in the history books as the man who started the 2016 socialist movement within the DNC and democrats will have to decide to either embrace him or Hillary Clinton – a person of questionable ethics, morals and a propensity to break the law.
The Republican Party is no doubt having a revolution of their own as voters are finally saying enough is enough and rejecting any form of an establishment candidate and rallying behind businessman turned revolutionary turned candidate Donald Trump.
Revolution, to include non-violent political revolution, is messy and ugly. Often times, the initial leaders who spark a revolution may be imperfect initiators who ignite a movement founded upon collective frustration with the status quo. Donald Trump is just that person. He is extremely imperfect in terms of what we expect out of someone running for president. We shriek and wince when we listen to him talk – all the time comparing him to our collective and individual expectation of how a candidate should act and behave.
But you have to ask yourself what is the essence of a revolution anyways? I think it is about change – dramatic change and the rejection of the past. When one gets past the coarseness and unconventional behavior of Trump and listens to what he is saying, it becomes clear. He effectively addresses the cold hard reality of the failed past performance of both parties. He poses the question the career politicians don’t want to have answered. That being, if the establishment politicians are so great then why haven’t they done anything to bring change to the issues affecting all Americans over the past many years if not decades? That uncomfortable question resonates across both parties and has awakened voters to their individual power and responsibility as citizens of this great Republic and scares the so-called “establishment” to death.
Welcome to the political Revolution of 2016 and unlike the Revolution of 1800, if you’re reading this then you are living through this one.
Viva la Revolution!!
Viper One Six – Out
Dave, Good research and excellent point. After recently reading the biography of Ben Franklin the 2016 Elections are tame compared to the very public election brawls / fights our gentile founding fathers / patriots engaged in and guess what – the country still survived. Imagine if the accepted way to solve a heated political feud today was a public duel to the death like it was when the former United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel against the sitting Vice President Aaron Burr in 1804.
Like you infer – our country will survive the ugliness but we won’t survive if our politicians fail to govern and we the people don’t stay involved and hold our politicians accountable and change is enacted – not just talked about but action taken.