When you get past the rabid rhetoric from both sides of the political fence, the partisan political pandering of cable TV networks (Fox on the right, MSNBC on the left) and the too-often inane patter of the blogosphere, you are left with an upcoming Presidential election that will be rough, tough and too close to call.
America is a country split down the middle by political, philosophical and cultural differences – a bitter, hybrid nation with no clear consensus, too much anger and too little unity.
The fire that once drove the great melting pot has blown out, leaving a hodgepodge of special interests, single-issue political platforms and fragmented panderers driven by targeted demographics instead of leadership.
The America that votes on Nov. 4 does so through the fog of anger, misinformation and emotion. Rational debate is gone, replaced by rabid partisanship and disassociated shouting about trivial matters.
This country is not a nation governed by an informed electorate. We are a fragmented society driven by fear, hate and hyperbole – a mass of sheep following the pied pipers of propaganda from the right and the left, conservative and liberal, Republican and Democrat.
This will not be an election decided by important issues like the economy, Iraq war, and honesty in government or freedom. It will be decided by racism, sexism and raw, unbridled emotion controlled by the basest of human failings. The final decisions made in the voting booth will be based on McCain’s age, Obama’s skin color and Palin’s gender.
It should not happen that way, but it will. Too much political debate in this country is filled with invective, childish behavior and outright ignorance. Those who lace their commentary by calling candidates names like "McSame" or "Billary" or worse add no substance to the debate: They only showcase their inability to deal with real issues in a cogent, adult manner.
Both sides have good and bad plans for America. Both sides have extremes. Both sides have successes and failures. Both sides have positions that deserve reasoned debate. But such debate is not possible when we get bogged down in name calling and long, drawn out shoutfests that question one candidate’s birthright or another’s patriotism. Nothing is served by painting one side or the other as evil.
In less than two months, we as a people will make a decision that could well decide the survival of a nation in trouble.
At this point, I doubt we’re up to the task.