The race to win the nomination to be their party’s candidate for President of the United States in 2016 has presented stunning contrasts in substance, style and tone.
In January of 2012, we wrote a blog commenting on the nature and implications of the national conversation during that election cycle. The dialogue and exchanges during 2015 have not been an instant replay. They have “trumped” those of 2011.
In spite of this, we believe our earlier blog remains relevant in 2016 — probably more-so than it was back then. We therefore repeat it in its entirety below.
For several months now, we have been watching presidential candidates and representatives from both major parties vie to gain the nation’s attention and voter support for their interpretation of the American condition. As the respective positions and points galvanized and balkanized at the beginning of this New Year, the situation called to mind a famous Robert Frost poem and compelled us to pen the following “poem” ourselves:
Two Roads Diverge in America Today (With acknowledgment and apologies to Robert Frost)While some would decry the “politics of envy”, others would decry the “politics of inequality”
Two roads diverge in America today
And we cannot travel both
While some would call protecting those at risk “socialist”, others would call caring for those less fortunate “humanist”
While some would embrace “free market capitalism”, others would embrace “the democratic society”
While some would make government “the enemy of the people”, others would make government “the people’s ally”
While some would emphasize “class warfare”, others would emphasize “saving the middle class”
While some would see immigrants as “the root of all evil”, others would see immigrants as a “wellspring of American innovation”
While some would attack regulations as “unnecessary and restrictive”, others would defend them as “essential to fair enterprise”
While some would rebuke the free press as “a source of biased information” others would recognize it as the “last, best hope for truth”
While some would put their “trust in God”, others would put their “trust in good”
While some would address only the “financial deficit”, others would redress the “human deficit”
Two roads diverge in America todayThe title of Frost’s poem was “The Road Not Taken.” In the last stanza of that work, he asserts, “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
And we cannot travel both
The choice is ours and we must try
To pick the right one to travel by
That will make all the difference.
Given the country’s current condition and the angst and anger emanating from those controlling the political debate, we can’t tell which road is “the one less traveled by.” We do know, however, that the citizenry is confronted by two very different visions of and roads into the future.
More importantly, we are certain that what is going on today is truly a struggle for the brain, and the heart, and the soul of America — the “road” that is chosen and “the road not taken” will make “all the difference” for the future of this great nation and its citizens.
That was our assessment at the beginning of 2012. We believe it is even truer today at the start of 2016.
In late December of last year, columnist Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post wrote an article which opened as follows, “History will remember 2015 as the year when The Republican Party As We Know It was destroyed by Donald Trump.”
Robinson may be correct. But, this is about much more than “The Republican Party as We Know It.” Ultimately, it is about “America As We Know It” — and will know it.
Two roads diverge. American democracy hangs in the balance.
(In the interests of full and open disclosure, Frank Islam is on Hillary Clinton’s national finance committee.)
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