Last Sunday a local columnist here in Joplin, one Geoff Caldwell, wrote that Senate Democrats had dishonored all on the 9/11 anniversary, and that includes all the war dead from ” . . . Valley Forge to Vicksburg, Bastogne to Baghdad, to the 9/11 sky above Pennsylvania, . . . ” Their sin? They used the filibuster to prevent the president from having to veto a bill condemning the anti-nuclear treaty with Iran. Of course, for some reason the writer failed to call for an end to the filibuster rule.
I was inspired to write the following letter to my editor:
Demagogue. n. Someone who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.
A demagogue is identifiable. He generalizes the opposing party as collectively faulty or evil. He wraps himself in the flag and proclaims the other party unpatriotic or even traitorous. (Perhaps surprising to some, Democrats can be patriotic.) He directly or by inference denigrates cultures and religions different from his own. He promotes American military action as the prime solution to world problems, this despite the obvious nation-building failures of Vietnam and the trillion-dollar mistake that was the second Iraq war. War is cathartic and quick, the aftermaths not so much.
He appeals to fear, such as fear of terrorism. But according to the NY Times, since 9/11:
. . . nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, including the recent mass killing in Charleston, S.C., compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists . . .
In his farewell address, George Washington spoke of the dangers of political parties, something he knew well from Europe’s experience. John Adams agreed. They knew that compromise and cooperation were essential. Their fears have proved well founded. Partisanship reached the breaking point in 1861 and has resulted in gridlock and near government shutdown during the past 7 years. The American experiment is in danger. Two wars proved that military might alone can not fix the world and we cannot afford to rebuild the world in our image, even if it would accept the offer.
Demagoguery is thick in the current primary campaigns. Will “we the people” let it win the day?