Recently I watched the Republican presidental candidates debate.
Ed Smith column head
I know. That’s a hell of a thing to be doing in the middle of the peace and joy of the Christmas season. But like death and taxes, it couldn’t be ignored.
One of these people could very well become the next president of the United States. If it’s Donald Trump, God forbid, this may very well have been our last Christmas for the next 100 years.
Before he took a full breath after taking the oath of office Brother Trump could have us at war with six countries — name any six anywhere — either one at a time or altogether. Could be our friends or our enemies, or a combination of both. Brother Don could be stirring up wrath and enmity from one end of the Northern Hemisphere to the other.
Or it could be New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, he of the impressive girth. He was asked by the moderator, Wolf Blitzer, if he would be prepared, as Commander in Chief, to shoot down a Russian plane violating a no-fly zone if he knew it could start the Third World War.
“Be prepared to?” reacted the combative Mr. Christie. “I would certainly do it!”
Wouldn’t you sleep better having Mr. Christie as president of the United States? Remember, the flight path for bombers from Europe to New York is directly over Newfoundland. At least it used to be. Perhaps they now go by way of the Falkland Islands.
Then there was Dr. Ben Carson, who was fond of pointing out his status as a God-fearing Christian. I was about to ask if there is any other kind.
Dr. Carson, who was also fond of pointing out that he was a life-saving neurosurgeon, having saved hundreds if not thousands of children, was asked if he agreed with destroying ISIS-controlled cities and everyone in them, including women and children.
The answer from this God-fearing Christian gentleman and saviour of little children was that he certainly did agree. Better to get rid of them once and for all, he said. With Christians like him, who needs atheists?
As the candidates were giving their opening statements, this spiritual descendant of the apostles also took the opportunity to ask the 1,400 people in attendance to observe a moment of silence for the victims of San Bernadino, Calif.
What’s wrong with that? Let me tell you. First, it was done deliberately to show up the other candidates who had not thought to do it at that time, and to make it look as though he cared more than they did. The second thing is that he used that terrible tragedy to ingratiate himself with voting “Christians” and thus made a political football out of it.
I thought it was despicable.
Donald Trump is not only a buffoon, he is also filled with the kind of arrogance that only great wealth can create. Brian Peckford once told me that one of the great temptations for a person getting into politics is to begin thinking of themselves as above the law. One has to have almost super-human strength of character to avoid that trap.
Once you combine incredible riches with the power of elected office, you have the makings for corruption, the kind of corruption that includes a God-like complex that makes him always right. He is insufferably rude, and dangerous to world order. The world is very close to being divided into two armed super camps reminiscent of the Cold War. Except that one was political and this one may be religious.
What disturbs me even more is the fact that there are so many like him who follow blindly behind him, no matter what outrageous statements he makes in the context of either foreign policy or domestic issues. I don’t think we have any Trumps in Canada, at least of that magnitude, but it would seem that the U.S. is full of them, and that’s very scary for Canada as well.
I don’t like U.S. politics. I don’t like the way it’s structured, from the little I understand of that structure, and I do not like the character assassination that is so much a part of it. The fact that very rich people buy the candidates of their choice with the policies best suited for their own personal interests is an unbelievable and undemocratic way to elect a president.
There are many weaknesses in our own Canadian system for sure, but ours is closer to the democratic ideal and, to my way of thinking, gives us the right to make this claim above some others who would claim it as their own.
Canada: the greatest country on Earth.
Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.