January 12, 2016 should have been a proud night for Americans. In presenting his final State of the Union address, President Obama was everything we could hope for in an American president. He was dignified, articulate, gracious, capable, well-prepared, intelligent, thoughtful, emotionally well-regulated, rational, wise and grounded. Additionally, he was socially appropriate, (and looked great, too), plus, he was linguistically elegant, poised, mature, reasonable and remarkably restrained when speaking of Congressional Republicans and current Presidential candidates. He said having different views should not, by definition, make us enemies, rather, in a free society, one expects and welcomes diversity of opinion, culture and background. His views for our country, and ultimately for the world, were optimistic and balanced. And he put his finger precisely on the problem we face as a nation: our political process or rather those who currently dominate it, is a mess. The Almighty Dollar and cultural elitism have inflated and leveraged hot button topics, and infused the rancorous political process with hate, increasing our dividedness.
This current batch of political combatants exhibit a zealous, unrestrained contempt for each other that barley stops short of snarling. It reminds me of National Geographic videos of marauding chimpanzees slaughtering rival troops. The battles on Capital Hill with their screeching and thumping, has descended to the level of primates in the wilds of Tanzania. If any of us think our American political campaign process is more erudite and sophisticated than that of many third world countries, take another look. Their hateful witches’ brew accompanied by its twin assumption — God-given ‘rightness’ have driven us to a precipice. Across the globe there are regressive, primeval, archaic belief systems competing for power on the world stage and the last thing we need is for our own politicians to regress to a matching level of un-socialized, uncivilized sloppy discourse.
Unfortunately, given the monstrous egos hogging podiums, the hope that any one of them would say “Oops, sorry I’ll ratchet this back a notch..” is seriously unlikely. What we can hope for is public backlash. If we as a nation of voters, as a nation of letter writers, as a nation of phone callers, as a nation of bloggers and tweeters get our acts together and stop applauding bad behavior, we might just have a chance to get the worst of the bunch to stop acting like, well apes, and realize that we as a global society can no longer afford to tolerate infantile, primitive chest thumping that enhances hatred and divisiveness. It’s time to look at the big picture and realize if you’re going to have a constructive role in our world’s future you’d better change what you’re doing and change it fast.