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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


Historic calamity...

Posted 11/08/16 (Tue)

There is no doubt this presidential election has been an historic one, but it’s all for the wrong reasons.

As we wake up this morning, we have a newly elected president. We made our bed, now we have to lie in it.

How could we possibly allow who we did to become our national leader? How could we stoop to the level that we’ve dropped? Why did people continue to support these candidates up until election day despite their backgrounds of lies, hatred and cover ups?

So this is what we’ve got now. The rest of the world, for more than 100 years, has looked up to the United States, until now.

Friends in various countries around the world, especially Australia and New Zealand, are saying “What has happened to the United States?”

Even Russia, which has been a longtime adversary, is surprised and Vladimir Putin is now viewing the United States as a weakened nation and not the formidable foe it has been since the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

How are the voters going to deal with this on their conscience for the next four years? Pick the other candidate because that’s the lesser of two evils. That isn’t a very smart decision. OK, then vote a third party or write somebody in.

Talk in taverns and restaurants was why vote that way because they’ll never win anyway.

There is some truth to that because no third-party candidate has ever won an American presidential election.

Theodore Roosevelt received the highest percentage of votes as a third-party candidate in 1912 and he remained very popular after his presidency from 1901-1908. He got 27 percent of the popular vote and 88 electoral votes but was crushed by Woodrow Wilson who won in a landslide. Incumbent Howard Taft remained far behind.

So what does that tell us? We have been deeply embedded in a two-party system for a long time and that hasn’t changed.

Roosevelt would have been a better president than Wilson, at least during Wilson’s first term, but the newcomer Wilson, a Democrat, was the big winner.

But look deep into history and how many flaws are you going to find with Wilson, with Roosevelt, with Taft? Look into any presidential candidate since that time and see if you can find anything even remotely close to what we’ve had to deal with in this election.

You’re not going to find anybody except Bill Clinton, who was the only exception to that in the past 104 years, until now.

Name calling, bickering, taking cheap shots at their opponent, interrupting moderators during debate, dancing around questions, being caught in lies, mocking voters, making false promises, putting the security of the United States  at risk, alienating the military, banning media from certain events and publishing false propaganda are all things that have happened since June and now we have four more years of it to look forward to in this country.

What happened to respect on behalf of the American people?

There have been plenty of times in which candidates didn’t like each other, but they at least acknowledged the issues facing the nation and were respectful of each other to show the voters they were at least presidential.

We didn’t have that this year. We didn’t have it in the primary season either.

And the media; the media is somewhat to blame as well because of all the exploitation of these candidates. We should be happy they exposed the candidates’ baggage, but it didn’t have to be exploited.

One of my friends, who has been working in the oil patch for the past six years, said, “don’t you find the humor in this election.” I told him no I don’t. This is no laughing matter.

None of us can look into a crystal ball and see what’s going to happen in the next four years. We can speculate all we want, but we don’t really know.

We do know we’ve made a poor choice for a leader. It’s similar to Gen. George Custer, who wasn’t a general at all but a lieutenant colonel designated as general who graduated last in his class at West Point and was the leader at the Little Bighorn massacre.

We now have a president who really isn’t presidential at all and will probably lead us into a trap like Custer did with the 7th Cavalry.

Answers from last week’s geography quiz: 1.) Ottawa; No. 2) Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon; No. 3) Toronto; No. 4) Saskatchewan; No. 5) Justin Trudeau; No. 6) 18; No. 7) Winnipeg; No. 8) Newfoundland; No. 9) Alberta; No. 10) New York.