August 17, 2017

Guest Commentary: When did the U.S. become a Latino telenovela?

Written by Martin Dassum, a 2013 Webster graduate and Ecuadorian living in Ecuador

A couple of months ago I wrote an article for The Journal on how Trump’s potential presidency could harm relations between Latin America and the United States. While this issue is still frightening, my attention has pointed in a different direction after the presidential debates.

Political science lectures talk a lot about political ideologies. The “perfect” system is one that is built upon the idea that citizens have a certain political ideology. Politics are like a color pantone, a pantone goes from white to black shaping a gray scale, politics are the same, going from right to left shaping a scale of mixed believes. We choose where our personal political philosophy falls in this scale. If this was to be true, which is not, you would technically just need to vote for a political party that shares your same believes. Whoever represents that party should not be that important,  because he or she would lead following the rules of party’s political tendency.

Growing up in Ecuador, it was a country with  elections every two years (in theory). But in practice, after many coup d´etats, consultations on constitutional reforms and miscellaneous situations in which we had to feel out valets, that two-year rule was never applied. As a young political science fan, turning on the news back home and watching speeches from candidates like John Kerry, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was something to look up to. I know that most of my former professors reading this piece are asking them selves, what? Romney, really? But, yes, after so many years of being surrounded by populists, bozos, popular kid show clowns (literally, red nose and makeup), uneducated former soccer players, most American politicians had something worth listening to.

“Make America great again” is the slogan used in Trump’s campaign.  To make something great again, there had to be a point in time in which it was great, then it stopped being great. But “great” is a misleading word. Pretending he is right, when did America become not so great?

After watching the last debates, it is easy to tell that there is a “before and after” in U.S. history. There has clearly been a transformation. Now debates are like a thing you watch on television after lunch. A cheap talk show involving a game of you did this and she did that. The efforts in Clinton and Trump’s campaigns are to find a way to make the other look bad. There is no focus on things that truly matter.

The election lost its focus when the democrats fell in Trump’s childish game. He is brilliant enough to convince people that the way to win is to turn voters against the other candidate. Clinton’s campaign advisors have been doing unstoppable research in how to turn voters against Trump as well. It’s a strategy that has undoubtedly worked.

So the strategy is to take this as an Achilles tendon and repeat this issue over and over again, trying to create a negative image for the Clintons and potentially beating them in key states. As I said it’s dirty, not embracing what you are capable of doing and what your ideals can accomplish, but how the other candidate is not the right fit.

America as the world’s symbol of democracy should not fall into this disloyal practice. The United States is the role model for democracies world wide, having such a vile election creates uncertainty and instability. It encourages world leaders to act the same way.

We need the intelligent well-structured and well-argumented debates again. How can a society understand political concepts and trust a system in which the main focus is to show how one candidate harasses women and the other one is married to an unfaithful sex addict who “took our jobs away.” This is a system citizens cannot support. I see not voting in this election as a sign of protest against two parties that have taken “greatness” away from the system.

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