Monday, November 7, 2016
None of the Above (2)
It has finally come down to it. Election day is tomorrow. Our choices from the major parties boil down to two of the most disliked and distrusted candidates ever to run for the office of president. Most of their campaigning, and much of the campaigning for other offices as well, over the last 3 months has consisted of each candidate accusing the other of being a bigger liar and a bigger crook. It was like watching children on the playground where the best defense was to throw more mud.
For those locked into voting for a major party candidate, it is truly a choice between the lesser of two evils. It’s like being passengers on an ocean liner in the North Atlantic being asked to vote on which iceberg to hit. Many voting decisions are being driven by fear, fear that one is so bad we must vote for the other to avoid a complete disaster. (If we could find one other person to vote for instead of one of these two to vote against, that one person would surely win. But the fear of “throwing away” one’s vote seems to be greater than the fear of either choice.) Remember, the lesser of two evils is still evil.
How did we get here? If you have been paying close attention to these entries over the last five and a half years, you will be right in saying, the candidates we have are exactly the ones we deserve. They are the consequences of our behavior.
Americans have become so lax, so superficial, so easily influenced by hype and empty slogans, so clueless about the real workings of the economy that they voted in the primaries for someone best known as the star from reality TV, on one hand, and on the other, a person whose main qualification is that she might become the first woman president. The candidates mostly appealed to our fear (of all foreigners) and our victimhood (as women and other minorities). Meanwhile the press continued to reveal scandal after scandal about both, misstep after misstep, but apparently to paraphrase one of the candidates, either one could shoot a person in the middle of Times Square and not lose a single supporter. Note that the alternatives in each party were no prize packages either, just the usual parade of professional (and a few amateur) politicians.
Yes, America, we are getting exactly what we deserve by virtue of our laxity in discipline, critical thinking, economic understanding, perspective and responsibility. We have either not been paying attention, or we have let our personal and public standards slip to such an extent that this is what we end up with in our choice of a leader. For too long we have let the political parties, the politicians, the media and each other get away with these half-hearted efforts, these half truths and slanted “facts” and now we are paying for it.
So go to the polls tomorrow, hold your nose and vote. Or don’t go to the polls tomorrow as a protest. Or vote for a third party as a message to the major parties to clean up their acts.
Whatever happens tomorrow will make little difference. Government cannot fix problems that are the accumulated consequences of individual problematic behavior and poor choices. They cannot and they should not. But they will try anyway, and all we will see are consequences heaped on consequences. Americans must take personal responsibility for the situation and act in their own lives to change it or it will only get worse.