Revolt of the Citizens

Author: Gary Hart

A tsunami of political analysis regarding this election has begun and will culminate in a series of books sometime next year.  There will be enough theories, most of them wrong, to accommodate a host of prejudices.  We are already accustomed to words and phrases like anger, frustration, alienation, forgotten working class, fly-over America, and so on.  Separate libraries will have to be constructed to house the dissertations in political science that will continue to be written decades from now about the 2016 political revolution.

A massive departure from traditional politics rarely occurs overnight.  This one traces from the mid-1970s when oil embargoes, foreign manufacturing competition, information revolutions, and mass migrations all collided.

While all this was transforming American economic and social structures, an even more significant change was occurring in Washington.  There was an explosion of special interest lobbying, campaign costs, and the evolution of a governing class composed of insiders […] Continue Reading…

A Prayer for America

Author: Gary Hart

Great Spirit, Creator of us all

We Americans continue to seek Your blessing.  We do so in our official events, in public forums, and even in our sports events.  But we seldom if ever provide evidence that Your blessing is deserved.  We take that for granted.  We assume we have earned a Divine blessing because we are entitled to it.

But now, at this critical point in our history, Your blessing is needed more than ever.  So, help us understand what we must do to deserve a blessing in this hour.

Help us learn humility.  Teach us that we are not always right and that others are always wrong.  Teach us to confess our errors and admit our mistakes.  Help us learn that we are human beings too eager to let our petty ideologies replace our nation’s principles.

Guide us in a path of righteousness.  Help us to reject the vain words of […] Continue Reading…

Disgust

Author: Gary Hart

“We are disgusted” she said, “with the political elite.”  A summary to explain the motivation of those who favor Trump.  Meanwhile, the Clintonians are disgusted with Trump supporters as the now infamous “basket of deplorables.”

When and how did the nation of “all men are created equal”, “we here resolve these dead shall not have died in vain”, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself”, the greatest generation, and “ask what you can do for your country” become so disgusted with itself?

To the degree the political elite represents a self-promoting, insider Court of revolving doors maintaining its own access and power through special interest lobbying and campaign contributions, no one is more disgusted with it than I am.  [Cf. The Republic of Conscience, Blue Rider Press, 2015]  How that disgust leads one to support Donald Trump is quite another matter.

Surely, even the most ardent Trump supporter would not include […] Continue Reading…

What’s Going On

Author: Gary Hart

Among the punditocracy in our Capitol “realignment” is in the air.  A site that draws a small but highly perceptive commentariat such as this one might do well to ponder what shape that political realignment (presuming it does in fact occur) might take.

The insiders now seem to assume that the Clintonian centrist Democratic Party is no longer the home of New Dealers and Great Societiests but whose maintenance of the legacy social safety net attracts the less well-off elderly, minorities, the poor, the better educated, and the young.

More interestingly, the Republican Party, under the influence of Nixon-Fox-Rove, has become a menagerie of evangelicals, white middle class elderly, rural and small town residents, gun owners, less well educated, anti-immigrants, and blue collar factory workers displaced by global competition.

Political journalists cling to the antique categories of liberal and conservative even as those traditional ideological categories seem quaint.  After Vietnam, the Democratic […] Continue Reading…

On Sunday Huffington Post posted an essay written by General Charles Boyd and me the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.  Out credentials were based on our service on the United States Commission on National Security for the 21st Century (1998-2001), General Boyd as the Commission’s Executive Director and I as its co-chair with the late United States Senator Warren Rudman.  Most notable among our 50 recommendations to the new George W. Bush administration was the urgent need to create a Cabinet-level Department of National Security uniting the Border Patrol, Customs, and Coast Guard with a common data base and communications system.  We did so because, by 1999, we had become convinced, as we publicly reported, that “America will be attacked by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction, and Americans will die on American soil, possibly in large numbers.”

Our essay was to remind Americans, yet again, […] Continue Reading…

Toward a Better Day

Author: Gary Hart

Even those of a generation that reached maturity in the happy days of the 1950s find it necessary to remind ourselves that, even though our lives were relatively calm, peaceful, and optimistic, we still lived in a racially divided society, a growing nuclear cloud hung over us, and there were struggles going on in many places in the world.

Yet, by comparison to today, it was a pretty good time to be an American.  Of the qualities we enjoyed, optimism about the future seemed commonplace.  Whether explicitly or implicitly we were told we could achieve anything we set out to do.  Life then was simpler, calmer, more civil, and, yes, happier, even for those of us in the humbler working class.

Will America ever be like that again?  Blocking that goal are a variety of barriers: mass migrations, always a fertile field for demagogues in any age; globalization threatening manufacturing jobs; […] Continue Reading…

A Tragedy Foretold

Author: Gary Hart

After November, expect an avalanche of analyses as to how the Trump phenomenon could have happened and, in some cases, how it can be prevented in the future.

A persuasive school of thought will link this phenomenon to the loss of privacy two or three decades ago and the consequent decline in the caliber and quality of political leadership in America.  The cost of the loss of privacy is the loss of respect.  And the loss of respect guarantees that men and women of talent and virtue will not submit themselves to the mockery of a mob of anonymous internet trolls and semi-literate political analysts.

Jefferson supposed that America’s future rested with “the aristocracy of talent and virtue”.  He did not mean that only aristocrats possessed those qualities.  He was too radical a democrat to believe that.  Rather, he believed that, largely due to widespread public education, a cohort of leaders […] Continue Reading…

Apologies

Author: Gary Hart

I have taken down the most recent posting entitled A Fable for Our Times.  I accept responsibility for it and regret having posted it.

Unfortunately, in the current highly-charged political atmosphere, I am guilty of adding fuel to a fire veering too close to the edge of civility.

Several responses unnecessarily revisited my own national campaign long ago and others went so far as to compare my candidacy to that

of Mr. Trump.  Others alluded to alleged but unproven allegation of illegality on the part of Mrs. Clinton.  Having decried the bitterness

and nastiness of today’s politics I should not have encouraged it further.

Gary Hart

You Have Sacrificed Nothing

Author: Gary Hart

Statements that resonate, speeches that linger, are not the result of a voice, a wardrobe, a hairstyle, or a handsome face.  One of the greatest speeches in human history, was delivered by a man who had none of these things.  He had no speech writers, no clever wordsmiths to tell him what to say and how to say it.  It was literally written near the last minute on the back of an envelope.  It is now carved in stone and in our hearts.  It is the Gettysburg Address.

Resonance with history is most often produced by an individual with a conviction, with beliefs lodged in the heart, with a sense of honor, integrity, and principle.  The person delivering words worth remembering must have something to say and a reason for saying it.

Powerful truths are often contained in a few powerful words.  When Mr. Trump loses this election, it will be […] Continue Reading…

Reflections on the future

Author: Gary Hart

Sometime back, under the impact of a series of improbable, even ridiculous, political developments, I wrote that I was forthwith leaving “politics” behind and focusing instead on more serious, more substantial, more meaningful topics with longer range implications.

Well, of course, I should have been smart enough to know that we may not care about politics, but politics cares about us.

Given the historic moment in which we find ourselves, let me invite comments, and offer to respond to questions if any are asked, concerning the impending national election and particularly its impact on the long term national interest.

For example, will history look back on this moment as a hinge of history, where we are leaving behind one era, say one that began in the mid-20th century with the end of WWII and ended at least figuratively on 9/11?  Are the new media replacing traditional journalism, the “press” of the First […] Continue Reading…