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Nightmare of politics and truth

Causing controversy: the Trump campaign has skilfully been able to tap into a segment of the American population who are fed up with what they see as a frozen Congress locked in political bureaucracy, our columnist writes (Photograph by Isaac Brekken/AP)

America is going through a political nightmare at the moment, with so many varied opinions as to whether voters have lost their minds in who they support and why.

Democracy is a magnificent tool to choose a leader in a free society, but things can become somewhat tricky if the mood of that society wobbles when it comes to keeping good values such as decency, respect and truth above the slick presentations by crafty promoters of a particular presidential candidate.

What has many Americans bewildered, confused and uneasy about Donald Trump’s rise to the leading spot for the Republican party is how he managed to do this, despite making proposals that some leading publishers claim are out of step with common logic.

Of course, Trump supporters are quick to brush off such attacks as attempts by his critics to avoid reality about problems facing the nation.

For example, Trump’s vow to deport 11 million illegal immigrants once in office struck a nerve with a number of Conservatives, with one saying such an undertaking would take years to complete. He also doubted if authorities would be willing to proceed with such a scheme, even if the order came from the president. Just the tone of that comment is deeply disturbing.

As the political pot continues to boil over, who is likely to be the Republican candidate to take on the Democrats? There are no real signs that Trump is weakening at the polls, despite outright condemnation from a highly respected publication, The National Review, which pulled no punches in declaring Trump as the wrong man for the job. Trump reacted by saying the magazine was dying, had poor readership and attempting to revive support. Again that, too, is a matter of opinion.

What is bothering many Americans is that the Trump campaign has skilfully been able to tap into a segment of the American population, who he knew were more than fed up with what they felt was a frozen Congress locked in political bureaucracy. Trump managed to convince his supporters that all that would change once he took control. Most people know that, in politics, seldom are glowing golden promises carried out with the ease in which they are made. That certainly is reality.

The free press has the awesome responsibility of trying to report as accurately as possible the twist and turns of politicians waging verbal wars against each other, aimed at capturing the attention of voters.

Another reality is that global terrorism has created huge challenges in international diplomatic relations and people are more than concerned about having someone in the Oval office with the ability fully to understand the need to keep a cool head in dealing with situations that arise from time to time between powerful nations. This becomes crucial especially when the potential for nuclear conflict could depend on who has their hand on the trigger. Quite a number of Americans are more than concerned about that aspect of the responsibility, which would be required for whomever takes the seat at the White House.

Recent political debates by both Democrats and Republicans so far have had little effect in altering that concern. Candidates on both sides have had their ups and downs riding the polls, but Trump has managed to maintain a lead despite attempts to derail his momentum by opponents throughout the nation.

Bermuda has always had a wonderful relationship with our American friends and, no matter the outcome of the election, one can only hope that bond will not only continue, but will grow stronger. We have a by-election coming up soon, and while the outcome may not be a glowing sign of how people feel across the electorate, it could indicate whether changes have occurred in the public mood.

Democracy will always provide the opportunity to bring about change through elections that give the people a voice they would not otherwise have. At times it can be a nightmare for the voter, who must decide where the truth lies. Not an easy task when, in the world of politics, winning at any cost is never off the table, even if truth has to take a back seat.

Nevertheless democracy itself must always be the winner, despite the never-ending struggle between politics and truth.