Before my father retired to the family farm, he spent a lot of his time listening to talk radio and he worried about a lot of what he heard.
The demagogues on talk radio fretted over the idea of one world government and they pointed to everything from the United Nations and the European Union to trade deals like NAFTA as evidence that the U.S. was moving in that direction.
My dad didn’t like that idea because he really didn’t want, say, France or Russia decided issues that mattered to Americans.
But he was convinced that the commentators were right and we were headed in the wrong direction.
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Chances are, he’s not alone in his concern. In a country the size of the United States, I suspect there are so many differences of opinion on so many topics that it’s hard to find anything that everyone can agree on. (OK, maybe we can all pull for the U.S. team in the Olympics.)
But that’s about where the near-unanimous agreements end.
In the midst of that whirlwind of disagreement and debate over national governance, we now find ourselves thrust into a presidential campaign in which many people report not really liking either candidate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
Clinton is the mainstream candidate. She has the political bona fides, as first lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of state. She’s been in political fights and she’s developed a track record that sometimes supports her cause and sometimes rips it to shreds.
Donald Trump is the Everyman candidate (What? You aren’t a billionaire, too Everyman?) who has spent a career building private businesses and using the capitalist system to make his way in the world. He doesn’t have the formal political experience of Clinton, but he has overcome that by saying things in plain English that other politicians have often used code for. And that candor has excited some and turned others off.
And, both of them fall short in the trustworthiness category.
Either way, it seems like voters are being asked to choose from the dregs of the candidate pool. Of course, it’s those very voters who put us in this situation. In primary after primary, caucus after caucus, voters lined up behind Clinton and Trump.
The key to this election, of course, will be how the voters who didn’t line up behind either of these candidates in the primary will vote in November. Will they vote for the Republican candidate because they are registered Republicans? Or will Democrats get in line behind their candidate?
Time will tell us the answer to that question, but here’s one thing I think my father and all the other doomsday worriers can rest easy about:
Neither one of these candidates is likely to lead the American flock of sheep blindly into one world order.
Trump’s political stance leans more toward isolationism than any candidate since Herbert Hoover in the 1920s.
Clinton isn’t likely to move the U.S. toward a single world government either because the U.S. is one of the three strongest countries on earth and – just like individual political leaders – the U.S. wouldn’t likely be willing to give up its own autonomy for the sake of being one among many. (See Britain’s exit from the European Union as exhibit one for that argument.)
But the bigger question I suspect most voters are asking themselves these days is this: Just where would Clinton or Trump lead us? And would I really like where we would end up?
I suspect the answer to that last question is no.
And that’s a rather disappointing prospect considering the fact that we will have to live with the consequences of these primary elections for the next four years.