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Cafe Society to discuss the Presidential election

By Staff | Nov 4, 2016

It is probably unrealistic for the Cafe Society to attempt to discuss anything else on Election Day. So the Nov. 8 session will be devoted to just that.

There are many aspects of this long and unusual saga that will provide the basis for a productive dialog among members of our community.

Huge amounts of public and private funding have gone into the two-year effort and many traditional methods of campaigning and managing elections have been significantly ignored, modified, or abandoned.

There is no doubt that internet, social media and numerous other new innovative means of communication have had an impact. Still, despite all the heat, little light has been shed on critical issues facing our nation. The news media corporations have certainly improved their bottom line and proven to be a dominant player, even at local political levels.

It remains to be seen how well the national political will is articulated by the outcome of the election.

Cafe Society discussions are held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. each Tuesday morning in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University Student Center as part of the SU Life Long Learning Program. There are no fees or registration requirements.

They are intended to facilitate a dialog on current issues and encourage more mutually supportive interaction between the university and our community.

Cafe Society facilitator, Mike Austin commented, “This 2016 Presidential election will certainly be dissected and analyzed for years to come.

“It raises obvious questions about how effective and representative our democracy really is in reflecting and serving the national interest in the increasingly complex globalized world that we now live it.

“It is asking a lot to expect any system of government to reflect the political concerns, priorities, and expectations of 325 million people.

“In the past we have relied, perhaps excessively on our political party system to manage the process.

“It has been apparent thus far in the campaigns that many of our voters have been expressing their political views not just for, or against particular candidates, or issues, but against “the establishment” and the political process itself.

“As always, there may be significant and discrediting disparities between the resultant popular vote and the Electoral College as the most valid representation of political decisions. And there is unprecedented concern about the extent to which the results of the elections will be accepted and appropriately implemented.”

Austin went on to say, “The gloves came off early in the protracted political process and the extent of acrimonious and simply crude rhetoric is unprecedented.

“It has been exacerbated by the interference of political leaders from other nations intruding overtly or clandestinely in our political ferment.

“It may prove to be difficult to restore the dignity of the Office of the President to its essential status, if he or she is to operate effectively either nationally or in international fora.

“At the same time it remains to be seen if repercussions for what they are now calling the “down ballot” will move the fulcrum of political balance and preclude effective concerted bi-partisan action on essential areas of national interests such as: the Federal Budget, defense, infrastructure, immigration, trade and public health. U.S. leadership is being challenged on many fronts and numerous issues have arisen while we have been concentrating on airing or political dirty linen.

“Our commodity-driven world economy is near collapse, many nations are barely holding their head above water, the European Union is in disarray, China is increasingly assertive throwing its economic and even military weight around, traditional allies like Turkey and the Philippines are falling away, our counter- terrorism programs are ineffective, and our goods, services and technological products are facing stiff competition in foreign markets.

“So our newly elected President and Congressional leaders will have their work cut out for them. We have lots to talk about on Tuesday.”