Opinion: Putting elections first ripping America apart

Opinion: Putting elections first ripping America apart

Photo taken on March 16, 2020 shows the White House Visitor Center in Washington D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

In the eyes of some U.S. politicians, the Dow Jones is far more important than human lives. After all, dead people do not vote.

by Xinhua writer Ma Qian

BEIJING, June 19 (Xinhua) — There was a time when American politicians of both parties could still reach across partisan lines and join hands to make a difference for the best interests of the American public. That seems to be a fairy tale these days, however.

Today, inside Washington and across the United States, politicians are bustling about all the time, but not because they are fighting to bring an end to the pandemic that is plaguing the country, or looking for ways to eradicate the deep-entrenched racial discrimination that has led tens of thousands to take to the streets all over America, or working with the rest of the international community to make this world a better place.

They are pretty much occupied all day long with one thing, and perhaps one thing only: to win elections. For them, grabbing ballots always comes ahead of serving the interests of the people.

To win elections, they cover up crises at all costs, manipulate facts, and deceive the American public with flat-out lies.

A medical worker transfers the body of a victim who died of COVID-19 at a hospital in New York, the United States, April 6, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

The current U.S. administration’s botched handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has corroborated what Rick Wilson, a former Republican strategist, recently argued: that Washington has “decided in a very utilitarian kind of way that the political damage from a collapsed economy is greater than the political damage from losing as many as 90,000 more Americans just in June.”

In their eyes, the Dow Jones is far more important than human lives. After all, dead people do not vote. That is why they brushed aside repeated domestic and overseas warnings and downplayed the pandemic in the beginning; then they left no stones unturned to shift blames at home and abroad; and now they are gambling on reopening the country despite many U.S. scientists warning against a premature easing of restrictive measures.

Photo taken on June 17, 2020 shows a restaurant displaying an “open” sign in Washington D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

To win elections, both Republicans and Democrats, in the face of an ever polarized American political scene, always choose to take advantage of a crisis for their political interests.

While the Democrats keep blasting the incumbent administration’s incompetence in battling the pandemic and responding to the protests caused by George Floyd’s tragic death, the Republicans are accusing the Democrats of politicizing the outbreak, blaming the Obama administration for leaving behind a mess when it comes to almost everything.

What they are doing is actually making some of America’s deep-seated problems worse, and tearing the country’s social fabric further apart. Yet, it seems that they do not care.

To win elections, many politicians in Washington have chosen to side with America’s big interest groups for their financial contributions and political support, and turn their back against ordinary people.

Demonstrators take part in a protest sparked by the death of George Floyd across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, the United States, June 13, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

Seeking to court the backing of the National Rifle Association, America’s most powerful gun lobbying group, Republican heavyweights have endorsed the organization’s opposition against expanding firearm background check systems, despite the fact that gun violence in the United States has spiked over the years, and that a total of 15,381 people were killed by guns last year alone in the country, according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.

Seeking to garner support from what former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower called “the military industrial complex,” administrations of both parties have acted as middlemen between America’s military hardware titans like Lockheed Martin and foreign buyers. And they are selling these weapons of war in the name of promoting peace and stability. How ironic.

By putting elections first, those U.S. politicians have made the country’s politics increasingly polarized and society unprecedentedly divided.

Protesters rally in front of the White House during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington D.C., the United States, on June 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

An overwhelming majority of 80 percent of registered voters — made up of 92 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of independents and 66 percent of Republicans — believe that the United States has been spiralling out of control recently, according to a recent poll conducted by The Wall Street Journal and NBC news.

A giant vicious political cycle is taking shape in the United States today: self-serving politicians ride the wave of rising populism into power, then they further divide the country and its people by pandering to their support bases, and then more of such politicians will get elected.

Another round of U.S. general elections is now less than five months away. Politicians of both parties are already on a war footing. And the odds that this election will help put a fractured United States back together by any measure possible seem pitifully low. ■