Lebanon, America, and Politics

I just read an article by Thomas L. Friedman, who is an opinion columnist for the New York Times … and I felt it was vitally important to share what he had to say.

He began by recounting the recent explosion in Lebanon and then remarked how so many of the people immediately asked, not so much about what happened, but who did it. And more importantly, what political advantage did they gain from the event.

He then went on to point out how these questions demonstrate several similarities between the United States, Lebanon, and other Middle East countries. Of course our natural reaction is, “What similarities! The U.S. isn’t anything like the Middle East!”

I’ll let Friedman answer …

The United States is becoming like Lebanon and other Middle East countries in two respects. First, our political differences are becoming so deep that our two parties now resemble religious sects in a zero-sum contest for power. They call theirs “Shiites and Sunnis and Maronites” or “Israelis and Palestinians.” We call ours “Democrats and Republicans,” but ours now behave just like rival tribes who believe they must rule or die.

Everything is now politics — even the climate, even energy, even face masks in a pandemic.

And when everything becomes politics — and power — a society (and certainly a democracy) eventually dies.

There is no center, there are only sides; there’s no truth, there are only versions; there are no facts, there’s only a contest of wills. 

Friedman goes on to compare Trump with Bibi Netanyahu in Israel, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey and Vladimir Putin in Russia and points out how these leaders:

… deliberately try to undermine the guardians of facts and the common good. Their message to their people is: “Don’t believe the courts, the independent civil servants or the fake news generators — only trust me, my words and my decisions.” It’s a jungle out there. My critics are killers (which is what Trump called his press corps on Friday), and only I can protect our tribe from theirs. 

There’s much more, including how Trump has met his match in Mother Nature and  COVID-19. No matter how hard he’s tried to discredit and deflect the pandemic by making it about politics, he has utterly failed.

I urge — yea, implore — you to read the article if for no other reason than to see how extremely important it is that we change the leadership in this country on November 3rd.

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