I sometimes wonder how many among those who wave the flag the most and couch all things in terms of patriotism actually have a working knowledge of the Constitution or those they refer to as “founding fathers”?
More than that who they personally elevate to iconic status and why?
Among conservatives Reagan and Lincoln are popular figures, for Democrats it may be FDR and the Clintons, though the Clintons popularity is on the decline save for the most diehard.
It isn’t difficult to understand populism, but for populism to result in positive change it needs to be informed – if not then history records it becomes a vehicle for despots.
Examples would be individuals like Hitler, Mussolini, and even Stalin who rode waves of popular opinion to become leaders.
It’s a long list and those who qualify subject to opinion, but I believe the three I’ve mentioned would find common agreement.
I’m inclined to believe terms like populism are over used when taking into consideration all candidates focus on what they believe is popular and will resonate.
That’s when the need to be informed becomes important – the ability and willingness to separate what merely sounds good from reality.
The mere fact that something may be popular doesn’t translate to being meaningful – social media sites like FB and others speak to that what with the ongoing homages to “celebrities”.
Let Kim Kardashian post another nude photo or Kanye another incoherent rant and the board lights up – for me it’s like really, does any of this actually make a difference?
Popularity is subjective, it can be harmless, amusing, beneficial, and even destructive.
Both the campaigns that Bernie Sanders and Trump mounted were routinely labeled as populist in nature – one fact based and the other predicated upon tweets, the one lacking factual substance prevailed clearly demonstrating the danger of being misinformed that can accompany populist movements.
Knowledge they say is power, so it stands to reason that the lack of knowledge is debilitating, at times a self inflicted wound that could rightfully be compared to a syndrome known as “self hurting”.
I’ve never known anyone I would consider a genius, though I’ve known a few who believed they were.
I’m not a genius, never will be, nor aspire to be one, but that doesn’t imply I can’t make an effort to make informed decisions and employ a little common sense along the way.
Common sense implies that if you remove clean water regulations and allow pollutants and assorted toxins to be dumped in the nations waterways nothing good can come from that.
Common sense makes it obvious that if an individual favors lies over truth they aren’t someone to believe or bestow trust in.
Common sense says if governmental leadership is opposed to a livable wage and cuts taxes for the wealthy and corporations it isn’t people friendly.
Common sense dictates that you move away from fossil fuels and focus on clean renewable energy, not rape the environment to wring the last dollar from it.
Common sense acknowledges climate change and a national global effort to address it, not deny the reality or obstruct efforts to address it.
Common sense should tell you if elected leaders attempt to do things behind closed doors there’s a reason for that and it isn’t in the public good.
Lastly, a common sense question is which serves the great purpose – uninformed populism or a willingness to do the math and in doing so accept the results?