Thursday, March 24, 2016

I'd Like More Peace in Today's Bloody Politics by Sandy Semerad


 I've been reading a book on nonviolent communication, hoping to achieve more harmony in my life.

I write about murder, but I prefer to live in harmony and get along, rather than argue. This particular book gives the following advice on how to do that: Don’t judge. Observe and listen. Mirror back what the other person is saying. It also provides tips on how to express feelings.

When I express my feelings, rather than keep them bottled up, I’m less likely to get angry. It’s helpful to use words like I’m feeling happy, sad, frustrated, angry, etc. and not use judgmental words like rejected, abandoned and attacked, this book advises.

As I was learning how to communicate better, my mind wandered to the tumultuous political climate and the heated rhetoric spouted by some of our Presidential candidates. I’m wondering what the experts could do to diffuse their anger.

What would they advise Republican front runner Donald Trump? He wants to “Make America great again,” he claims. “Build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.”

While his supporters agree with him, the Republican establishment would like to stop Trump. Former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Trump “a fraud,” but Romney’s denouncement didn’t seem to hurt Trump’s campaign.

Many of Trump’s adversaries have entered the fray. Even popular author and liberal democrat Stephen King has criticized the billionaire businessman. King wrote this slogan which he thought best represented Trump’s philosophy: “If you’re white, you’re all right. Any other hue, I don’t trust you.”

Trump usually fights back, going for the jugular. He shouts, “Get them out,” referring to protesters attending his rallies. Or he might yell, “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Recently, a Trump supporter did just that at one of his events.

Supporters of nonviolence have recommended a much more civilized approach, but I doubt the angry rhetoric and name calling will stop anytime soon in this heated political climate.

Trump called Texas Senator Ted Cruz a liar, and referred to another competitor Marco Rubio, as “little Rubio,” and the battle escalated. Rubio responded by saying Trump’s hands were small, insinuating his manhood was also small. 

Ohio Governor John Kasich wants to position himself above the fracas with his “positive vision for America,” he says. But Kasich’s message doesn’t seem to resonate with the majority of voters. He won his home state, but trails in the polls, and claims he wouldn't accept a Vice Presidential nod from either Trump or Cruz. Senator Rubio failed to win Florida, his home state, a death knell for him, so he dropped out.

Cruz says he’s "Reigniting the Promise of America.” But I’m uncertain as to what this means. When I think of America, I think of the American people, a conglomeration of men and women and children, all nationalities, all races, religions, enjoying the freedoms stated in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation Proclamation, although I would add the word women, to insure all women and men are created equal.

Cruz also wants to “Take America back.” Does he want to take us back to the time when the thirteen colonies declared independence from Britain in 1776? I have no idea.

I prefer clearer messages, and I cringe when I hear name calling and combative words coming from someone who wants to be hired as our next President.  

On the democratic side, the candidates appear more cordial. They focus on the issues and the differences between them. Although Senator Bernie Sanders has riled up voters by saying, "A political revolution is coming." When he asks his packed audiences of young voters “Are you ready for a revolution?” they yell, “Yes.”

While I don’t “feel the Bern,” I see his appeal. When I was in my teens and early twenties, I wanted to be a rebel, too.

Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton offers a more practical approach. “I will work for you,” is one of her slogans. “I’m fighting for you,” is another one. She has also countered Trump’s message. “America is already great,” she says. “I want to make America whole,” and recently I saw this sign attributed to her: “A woman’s place is in the White House.”

When Hillary Clinton ran against Barack Obama and lost to him in the 2008 election, her slogan was, “Solutions for America.”

 President Obama, a dynamic campaigner, used this saying, “Yes we can.”

In President George W. Bush’s campaigns, he had several different slogans: “Compassionate Conservatism,” “Leave no child behind,” “Yes, American can,” “Moving America Forward,” “A Safer World and More Hopeful America.”

President Bill Clinton used these: “Building a Bridge to the 21st Century,” “Putting People First,” and “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow.”

One of my favorite Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, used this catchphrase at a time when we were embroiled in a Civil War. “Don’t Swap Horses in Midstream.”

But as far as avoiding conflict, many of these political figures, past and present, seemed to have subscribed to the adage, “Politics is a blood sport.”

As for me, I prefer to avoid bloodshed and combative behavior. I’d rather leave that to the characters in my novels.

Here’s my latest novel, A Message in the Roses:

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Please visit my website to find out more:


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