Many in America believe that politics is little more than a game that power-hungry people play. It is the 21st century and the game has the potential to be high-tech. Scientific discoveries make it possible to destroy or protect the world we live in. If we choose to, we can efficiently coordinate efforts to attend to the physical needs of our population. Digital media coverage allows us to stay informed as events happen. Communicating through portable devices and social media allows us to know more than ever about the human experience. We are able to quickly discern what it is that people need to thrive in this country. Despite all of the technology that our leader has access to, I believe that we citizens are currently nothing more than expendable pieces in an ancient game of chess being played by President Trump.
People often speak of politics as if it’s synonymous with corruption. I would argue that it’s not the political game that’s corrupt, but what players bring to it. The ideology behind our government is a decent one that has attempted to evolve with the occasional pang of enlightenment concerning human decency. There are some men and women who jump in the game and campaign for political positions because they truly desire to do something good for the people and the world around them. Unfortunately, their actions are often stymied by less thoughtful politicians with more self-serving agendas. Donald Trump campaigned with the philosophy that politicians are bad and that if he was elected president he would “drain the swamp” of politicians and America would be great again because he would not play the political game.
Well, Donald Trump is now the President of the United States. Enough people apparently believed that what this country needed was someone with zero political experience because politics are responsible for all of our country’s problems. During the last two weeks of his reign, it has become clear that there is something much scarier than politicians lurking in the waters that run through our country. As a nation, we are drowning in a pool of greed and are being swallowed by a hunger for power. These greedy, power-hungry people exist in all aspects of American life – and it seems that our President has invited many of them to join his cabinet and advise him on running the country.
Greed and power can win political games. Many of our President’s supporters are hoping to witness this through the platform of “nationalism” that he is promoting. This approach has sometimes worked temporarily for leaders . . . then the 20th century happened. Advancements in technology make us so connected with – and vulnerable to – other nations that it is simply stupid to think that a policy of nationalism could possibly advance our nation in any significant way.
My President and his power-hungry supporters have been operating as if they believe the world is flat. They seem to have their sights set on racing across a political chessboard with the goal of screaming “checkmate” at every Democrat, Socialist, Independent, and Green Party member, as well as at every other country’s leader (even those who are historically our allies). My President appears willing to sacrifice every game piece on the way to proclaiming himself the victor in the small world he is focusing on. Unfortunately, because we are in the 21st century and technology has connected all of us, America’s political playing field extends well beyond the borders of our country that our President seems to be so obsessed with. The political world is not flat like a chessboard; it is global. If we take our eyes off the rest of the world today and focus on only one small square of the world that is our nation, it makes us a potential target in some way for literally everyone else. I have no political experience, but it is obvious to me that this approach is wrong. Maybe I can see that because I am not blinded by the desire for power. I simply want to see my nation succeed by promoting success for every human being.
A wise leader understands that the size and shape of the political game is ever-changing. The rules are often dictated by other players with power. To be successful, a leader must surround himself with people who can advise him on how to best play the game of attending to the needs of his citizens. Good leaders do not focus on their own hunger for power, but contemplate how to nourish the most people. A good leader does not cause his citizens to dwell on the notion that they are nothing more than pawns in a misguided game he is trying to win for himself.
My President will gladly take my taxes to build a Mexican wall I do not want. His hands will push out people of backgrounds and beliefs that I welcome. He will lift regulations and pollute water that I want to protect. Feeding and sheltering my neighbors doesn’t concern him. He will recklessly sacrifice my children’s bodies in a war that he initiates with former allies. He will never stop to ask me what I need to thrive in this country. I am nothing more than an American pawn in President Trump’s flat little world.
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© 2017 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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