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Presidential Politics and the American Soul


Presidential Politics and the American Soul

Robert C. Koehler

When I want to believe that America is a democracy — indeed, to feel so deeply this is so that my soul trembles — I turn to Martin Luther King, who gave his life for it.

He cried out for something so much more than a process: a game of winners and losers. He reached for humanity’s deepest yearning, for the connectedness of all people, for the transcendence of hatred and the demonization of “the other.” He spoke — half a century ago — the words that those in power couldn’t bear to hear, because his truths cut too deep and disrupted too much business as usual.


Thank you Robert for a searching essay more than relevant today, and the words and moral vision of Dr King.

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.”

We have seen the structure of our national direction and political mechanisms put on the auction block for the highest bidder, regardless common decency or integrity, to buy and manipulate for further gain - candidates, elections and legislation geared to and for the enrichment of the already obscenely wealthy. The further obscenity of the Supremes sanctifying big-money and its ability to subvert our political processes as equal to "free speech" solidified the power of the corrupt.

The people have become sleepwalkers, lied-to daily by professional talking heads and a corrupted Fourth Estate, ignorant to their true enemies, mesmerized and bedazzled by technology and celebrity scandal diversions, with candidates dedicated to continuation of the status quo - only candidate Sanders speaks truth to power and shows his integrity in every word.


Americans mostly live in a prison of entertainment, distraction, and intentional economic stressors designed to maintain order and provide sufficient cannon fodder. Very few people seem to be able to form their own opinions. How else could one explain the Trump experience that mindless masses follow. It takes a great deal of effort to form and maintain one's own opinions in the face of the barrage of media messaging dangled as information. To be honest, it seems that American politics have always largely fought with simple slogans and the like. I hope that Bernie can further develop his messaging and yet maintain his momentum. While wealth inequality is at the root of most of America's biggest problems, the public needs to see that this is the cause of the rot in the education, infrastructure, and civility in our society. The rich are well schooled in their war on the many. The trickle down myth has been all but fully debunked. America needs Bernie's revolution.


Of all the candidates the one that probably comes closest to this view is Martin O'Malley. He bases all his policies on American values. And he also evokes the goodness of the American people somewhat like Jimmy Carter did. But based on the polls Americans do not seem to be responding to this. The most enthusiasm is for keeping out people like Mexicans and Muslims or engaging in a class war against the wealthiest Americans. We should reflect on the words of Martin Luther King. In a way some of things he said are still very relevant today.


There are acts of terrorism that escape being labeled as terrorism. The people of Flint were the targets of a terrorist act that was based on elitism, racism and a callous disregard for the wellbeing and health of innocent people. Had the lead levels been lower and the water visibly cleaner etc, then perhaps many years would have gone by before anyone 'noticed' the localized hot spot of high lead levels and lowered IQs of the region's children etc.

Why is targeting the people of Flint for a dangerous health hazard and subjecting them to actual physical harm not being called terrorism... Because it is terrorism - maybe they should call it trickle down terrorism.

Consider also that the state has a surplus and since when is a city's water supply not tested routinely? How can the water supply be shifted to a river without that water being tested? We may not like to see what this was but the fact is that these people - a whole city of innocent people - was targeted for physical harm. We excuse an unconscionable act by the governing elite when instead it should be called what it is... Terrorism.


I found this article this AM. It speaks volumes about the American Soul:

Six Things You Need to Read About Donald Trump



Thanks for the link.
William Randolf Hearst's newspaper empire was, and has been, a propaganda mouthpiece for the Amerikan Empire. William supported the Vietnam war; the .01%; the MIC; and the war mongering elite.

I visited Mr. Hearst's castle in California and could only be revolted by the sybarite greed of this man! You would have to see it to believe it!


After all these years the real murderers of MLK have still not been indicted. James Earl Ray was just another patsy like Oswald and even the King family held a mock trial where Ray was exonerated and found innocent! But still this insidious cabal of criminals are still on the loose.


Koehler says the War on Terror should be labelled as 'radical,' and I agree.

It's the kind of radicalism Sanders supports.

Sanders promises to smash ISIS. That is guaranteed to keep the War on Terror going indefinitely, at least until something even worse than ISIS comes along.

Sanders also promises to keep the Killer Drone Program going. That also will fuel terror in all directions.

If Vietnam poisoned America's soul, what about the War on Terror, during which we seem to have permanently abandoned the possibility of peace.

What does it say about my soul if I am willing to support another drone-murdering president just because he promises me some nice socialism goodies?

Screw that. Better to write-in my dog's name than to be manipulated into playing this cruel game.


I think Orson Well's "Citizen Kane" was supposed to be Hearst's biopic.


The picture of candidates shows 20 males, 1 Black face only, and 2 females.

I haven't finished Mr. Koehler's article, but if it fits what he typically writes, it will use the following to make gender and possibly race invisible and irrelevant:

"He reached for humanity’s deepest yearning, for the connectedness of all people, for the transcendence of hatred and the demonization of “the other.”

Dr. King, as opposed to many male Caucasian writers, is not speaking about wiping out the voice of the alternative. He's talking about how to integrate it into a more colorful inclusive society.

Too often right wing pundits (and their enablers on the Left) take this idea of not being "other-oriented" as cause to continue the status quo's business as usual; and as the field of candidates shows, it's always based on white male dominance through their numbers, their financial portfolios, their statuses at universities, corporations, government, or the MIC.

THAT, by its very asymmetric representation defies the truly Democratic, Diverse society in both practice and ideal.

The corollary to "no problem can be solved at the level of thinking that created it" ought to be that neither can it be solved if the same demographic that set the problem into motion STILL gets to call the shots and direct the mores, priorities, and decisions of the entire society.

It never dawns on Mr. Koehler that the absence of diversity is the reason why white male militarists who have led the world for centuries, continue to do so... and they lead INTO ruin:

"The war King was crying out against ended eight years after that 1967 speech, but the poison did not disappear from the country’s soul. There was no atonement, no real change, only, ultimately, a retrenching and regrouping of the military-industrial consensus."

There is another consensus--and it's called patriarchy; but Mr. Koehler dare not speak its name!


You and Emphyrio push a "blame the people" narrative that pretends that all persons are hypnotized by media, few understand what's going on (as opposed to the impositions of power and how these have formed a labyrinth in place to thwart action on the part of good people and many who suffer due to others' reprehensible decisions: Flint's water being a particularly apt example), and that most support Trump.

These glaring generalities are hardly accurate. What they manage to do is take the onus off persons who hold positions of authority and slime the results over the body politic.

How about all the people attending Sanders' rallies? How about all the $ he's raised in $30 donations?

How about the Kayaktivists, the Dreamers, those fighting for a living wage, those fighting fracking.

For years I have spent a lot of time pointing out the dangers and falsity of these one size fits all narratives. But they are the #1 meme repeated often here.

And always by the same posters... posters who change their screen names as often as most change their underwear.


It speaks volumes NOT about "The American Soul," but rather about those duped by the likes of Trump and/or callous Celebrity.

Is it your view that his possible 30% support of eligible voters' represents the whole truth about this nation's people?

Comments of this nature insult thinking persons and ultimately reinforce the Republican Status quo by asserting that IT represents a majority.


I've been there, and to the Taj Mahal in India. It, by the way, took many years to build at great cost and was done as a tribute to the leader of the time's wife.

On the plus side, these monuments to personalized forms of homage allow for artisans to express.

The tile work done at the Taj Mahal (which incidentally came from the Arab world) required amazing skill with cutting semi-precious stones like Lapus Lazuli.


Sanders is not a war hawk and hardly used terms like "Smashing ISIS."

He's showing deference to the sitting President, and he can't afford to come off as too much of a peace activist in a nation where so much machismo has been so pumped up for the War State.

You take liberties that are not yours to take.

And as has been pointed at you MANY times: Just what do you think would be the alternative to Mr. Sanders? Jeb? Trump? Hillary?

I voted for Jill Stein an election cycle ago... but the woman, for all her sound ideas, doesn't have a chance in hell. Bernie Sanders does and he gets a LOT right.

The question really comes down to: Who do posters like you think is going to take office and/or who pays you for your daily screeds against the best possible direction for our ailing nation?

I think you also post as AlligatorHardt, and have posted in the past as both Erroll and Nicholas.

In my view, it's a form of dishonesty and cowardice when ONE poster pretends to be any number of alternative virtual selves.


30% was the VOTING majority last time (when only 36% voted).


I love Dr. Jill Stein, and if comes down to a HRC/Trump ticket I will support her again and have a clear conscience, but if Bernie somehow gets the Democratic nomination for POTUS this election I will support Bernie even though I know he will probably not be able to implement most of his policies.

If it comes down to a Sanders/Trump ticket and I failed to support Bernie and Trump became POTUS that would definitely give me a guilty conscience!


" ...only candidate Sanders speaks truth to power and shows his integrity in every word."

Koehler - "Would that Bernie Sanders spoke with such radicalism — or drew such a clear connection between social deprivation and militarism."

Only Stein speaks to this issue - where was/is Mr. Koehler when she was/is running on this issue ...


"America needs Bernie's revolution"

Koehler - "Would that Bernie Sanders spoke with such radicalism — or drew such a clear connection between social deprivation and militarism."

Sander's "revolution" is a tempest in a teacup - it only touches the tip of the iceberg. This article points out what really needs to be said, and Sanders isn't saying it ..

If King were making his speeches on the subject today - he would be addressing ALL the D/R candidates - Stein is the only one who has made that theme her own ,,,


Why wf, you must have be channeling Stein (smile)


"If ISIS poisoned the children of Flint, rather than corporate-sponsored politicians, how would Obama and the duopoly be responding"