By Pastor Rasheed Z Baaith
“Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding.” (Psalm 32:8)
There are dynamics to be seen in this year’s primary election season that may have never been seen before. At least not at one time.
Hillary Clinton represents the dynamic of political dynasties. In the past being a familiar name from a political family especially one that included a former President was considered highly advantageous, not now. While being a member of such a family could not guarantee election success, it went a long way toward it. That no longer is the case. Jeb Bush is a case in point. This perspective is especially true among younger voters. Their attitude is one of what will the candidate commit to without equivocation, what is the compassion quotient of the candidate, how determined to have equality in education, gender issues, criminal justice and economics is the candidate? The name of a candidate is not what attracts these voters, idealism is what pulls them.
Clinton does not seem to have the idealism young voters are looking for or they do not believe she is sincere when she espouses her idealism about their concerns. She is the consummate politician: she is an experienced, bright, and tough. And with today’s young voters, none of that is working for her.
Bernie Sanders is the voice of unwavering idealism. He talks of having free college education for whoever wants it, a total realignment of wealth, economic equity for people of color and for women. He is resolute about there being social equity for women, homosexuals, people of color and the poor. He believes banks and Wall Street has gotten away with too much for too long and that no politician will regulate anyone who has given them large fees for speeches or consultations. I think he’s right about that.
Even more remarkable are how these young people are being attracted to and believing in a man 74-years-old.
There may be several lessons in that reality but principal among them may be the destruction of the adage that says the young won’t follow anyone who can be called “old”.
We know that much of what Sanders proposes America can’t afford, I’ve got to think so do many of his youthful supporters but the fact he is willing to put those proposals forth seems good enough. He is not afraid to talk of going further than any serious Presidential candidate has ever gone before with policy and issue evolvement.
And where would America be if there were not candidate that represents that strata of voters who want the America of 1950? Those who want an America where those in power are white, male and racist. An America that will again dominate world politics, world economics and world leader-ship. They may not want slavery back but a few plantations here and there wouldn’t bother them. Their candidate is Donald Trump. He appeals to those who want to “take America back.” Back from whom? What they want more than anything else is the de colorization of the White House. Their thinking is unless you look like them and think like them, you’re not really an American.
They support Trump because he has made it clear he thinks just like they do. Over the past week he had to be forced to distance himself from David Duke. For those of you too young to remember David Duke, he was and remains one of the most virulent racists in American history. For him to speak of supporting Donald Trump means he sees something in Trump that appeals to his own xenophobic thinking. Yet it seems to me the only difference between Trump and the rest of Republican Presidential candidates is he is open about what he thinks. The rest of them will hide themselves behind politically correct jingoism. How many of that crew spoke out about the killings of young Black boys, or the apparent disregard of Black lives, those taken by biased police practices or by other young Black people?
No matter what and no matter whom, there will have to be some personal compromises in voting for any of these candidates because of questions about their mind set. Such as what will it take for Sanders to defend America from enemies foreign and domestic? Would Hillary take on Wall Street and the banks including those thought of as too big to fail? And how will Donald Trump be received on the world stage where being a bombastic, vulgar, racist television host counts for absolutely nothing?
Think about it.