The last day of the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival featured a balanced and illuminating discussion on The State of America - the USA's venomous series of electoral struggles.
One would think that any discussion on the scrap for supremacy between Trump and Clinton would be over pretty quick: Trump's obviously nuts! There goes that! Thanks for coming! But, believe it or not, it's not that simple. Or so we were told by three very learned and wise humans who took the stage to give us some context on the whole quagmire. They were: historian Peter S. Field, political scientist Amy Fletcher, and TV writer and novelist Steve Hely (who helped produce American Dad! and 30 Rock).
Here is a surprising sample of what seemed to be the consensus of the multi-partisan panel:
First, it was argued Hillary has been given a markedly easier ride from the media.
After all, Trump is so scandalous and acrid that he distracts us with the kind of entertainment befitting of The Real Housewives of Auckland. But, all his antics have overshadowed what so many Americans are concerned about - Hillary's alleged (arguably law breaking) ineptitude as Secretary of State (no, not a normal secretary, rather, senior official overseeing national security).
That cute local rag the New York Times claims as Secretary of State, Hillary used her unprotected home PC for sending and receiving highly sensitive material pertaining to national security (you know, as you do). This is kind of problematic, cos' her private server is much easier hacked, putting thousands at risk - Americans take that kind of thing rather seriously ... Further, such material should have been automatically archived for the purposes of governmental transparency, accountability and future reference.
So, these are apparently very serious, and apparently justified allegations. Yet generally overlooked by world media. So, while we all think the decision is pretty obvious, for lots of Americans the whole choice is a bit perplexing.
There was also another speculation - "is this the end of both (Republican and Democrat) parties?" Are we going to see genuine multi-party competition in the USA? With this, the discussion turned quickly to the widespread concern among Republicans that Trump's' damaging the party beyond repair, with Peter S. Field mooting "Trump is a sign of the end of the Republican Party". But then, Dr Fletcher pointed out that lots of republican voters loved seeing Trump take down Jeb Bush, "whos a rich, establishment Republican", who "never gets told what to do", but got severely told. By Trump! Supposedly, rugged, liberty loving Republicans rejoiced at this public hanging, despite other party faithful freaking out about a future with the same Trump who gave lots of money to Democrat campaigns in the recent past - conflict of interest? In any case, it'd be cool to see the end of the two party electoral monopolization stifling American democracy.
It was a treat getting to hear from learned American citizens regarding their election. The only thing good about the whole thing is that I don't have to make that decision.
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