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Equivalency Test

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 9/03/2016 Jeffrey Moualim
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"States are doomed when they are unable to distinguish good men from bad." -- Antisthenes

There is a growing sense in this country of the electorate that both the Democratic and Republican parties are just the same. A prevailing symptom of this cynical malady that voters have in the U.S. is lower voter turnout, especially in off-year elections. But it has become self-evident with the rise of candidates like Donald Trump that this cynicism has reached epic proportion. Trump's base, ignoring racist remarks, seemingly incalculable unrealistic ideas and the heretofore unforgivable rudeness that neither deter their support or examine their own shifting morality. To just focus on Donald Trump's attractiveness to Republican and independent voters would not do justice in determining if the two party's Republicans and Democrats are more or less the same. That would be far too superficial, for Trump is the result of a GOP that has turned a deaf ear to reasonableness even to some in their own party.

The presidential election has taken very different tenors by each party. On the Democratic side, Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders will at times have attacked each other (and mainly on policy positions or establishment vs. revolution) but have been faithful to outlining the issues faced in 2016 America. In contrast, with the establishment of the Republican party fearing a Donald Trump candidacy, the front-running candidates Trump, Rubio and Cruz have turned rallies and debates into their worst fears. Carnival acts from the 19th century like General Tom Thumb or the conjoined Jones Twins would have difficulty creating more shock value than the verbiage and the actions of these three candidates. As the lowering of intelligent discussion continues the indictment of the Republican party grows stronger. This is a party that would rather debase their opponent then debate issues that affect the country.
In 2016 the lines of distinction became even sharper with the candidacy of Donald Trump in exhibiting a message and demeanor in direct contrast to Hillary Clinton. While Trump talks of building walls, Clinton respond with breaking down barriers. As protesters are treated violently at Trump rallies, Clinton pleads for more love and kindness. And where Trump and all the current Republican candidates remain silent on the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Sanders and Clinton have given voice to what is a disaster with the same racial component as Hurricane Katrina. Democratic candidates for president have imperfections. However, not being able to distinguish good (even an imperfect good) and bad has dire consequences for society. One issue that will inevitably be undeserved, but was on the radar in 2015, was heroin addiction. Here is but one issue that illuminates their divergence.
With an eye on the early primary in New Hampshire, Democrat and Republicans addressed the rise of heroin use in the U.S. In New Hampshire this epidemic is particularly high. Yet even though some of the Republican candidates (Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, etc.) have had their families experience the dangers of drug abuse, their unspeakable calculus for bringing help and understanding of those with addiction is without compassion. The remaining candidates for President in the GOP are only in favor of tightening border security and believe the criminality of drug use should remain. Imprisoning more and more people for drug offenses to an already overcrowded prison system that houses more people in prison per capita than any nation on earth.

Conversely, Democrats' corrective approach begins with the person addicted to drugs. Clinton and Sanders have agreed that America's addiction problem should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal issue. Clinton cited her a 10-billion dollar plan to address the opioid epidemic. An epidemic magnified in lower income communities where heroin can be accessed more readily and less expensively than other opioids such as Oxycontin or Percocet as painkillers.
Clinton added "the policing needs to change. First responders, including police and firefighters, must carry the antidote to a heroin or opioid overdose."
There is little doubt that our candidates' past and present have had at one time or another "feet of clay." The national parties have at given times in our history acted or in some cases not acted, employing a compass of political expediency rather than the best interest of the country. But voters must also be held accountable if they are not able to distinguish if their choice appeals to the better or the worst nature of men. Otherwise Antisthenes' words from the past will become even more prophetic than he could have imagined and the possibility of a dystopian future we chose to ignore today.

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