The 2008 US Presidential Election is a month away. We are approaching the end of nearly two years of constant campaigning by a dwindling pool of potential candidates, and we are down to the final two. And I have to say, if these two represent the absolute best that America has to offer, we are in a sorry state indeed.
One is a self-described “maverick” who nonetheless has decided to pander to the most intolerant and extreme elements of his constituency, whom he had previously ignored. The other is a self-described agent of change who picked at 6-term Senator as his running mate and who has professional lobbyists working on his campaign delivering his message of “no lobbyists”.
These are our choices? Obama or McCain? One’s too old, the other’s too inexperienced, and neither are natural born leaders. Obama is certainly articulate, McCain can be folksy, but neither of them come across as speaking from the heart, and neither appears to be able to inspire the American people with their “greatness”. Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but the man could connect with and inspire people in his sleep (and often did).
Now, they’re both Senatorial material, but that’s it. Presidential? Not in the least. Great leaders? No. Bad people? No, not bad. Both are politicians, which means they are professional liars, but within the realm of “politicians”, they are two of the least repugnant.
But if our primary criterion for Presidential candidates is lack of repugnancy, then we’re doing it wrong. We, the people, have allowed the political process to devolve into a game of “gotcha”. Your grandparents prayed to the wrong god? Gotcha. Traded in your first wife for a newer model? Gotcha. Didn’t wear a lapel pin? Gotcha. Have an occasional hot temper? Gotcha.
We hold our candidates to superficial standards that don’t allow them to be human beings, and we ignore their actual character and leadership abilities. Real people are imperfect, but in order to become president one must hide imperfections and appear angelically pure. That means that, to become president, one has to lie about one’s self. And we, the people, eat it up with a spoon and end up electing the best liar. Is it any wonder that things continue to go downhill?
It would be easy to blame the media, because acting as the fourth estate is supposed to be their job, and they are woefully, laughably lacking in the area of serious political journalism. However, it’s we the people who have allowed the press to become infotainers, and it’s we the people who flock to 24 hour news channels that have to drum up SOMETHING exciting each and every day to hold onto our eyeballs. And it’s we the people who are happy to be lazy, hypnotized consumers of pre-processed opinions.
We, the people. The people of the United States of America. *We* control the government of this country, not vice-versa. We could vote all of these bums out in one round of elections, and elect real Americans who are real patriots with real ideas to solve real problems.
Really. All it will take is for the apathetic majority to rise up and take action. I’m one of those guilty of apathy and inaction. For years I recused myself from the process, because that process rarely, if ever, produces worthy candidates. So I sat smugly in my ivory tower and looked down upon the hoi polloi as they listened to tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, and congratulated myself for not playing in a crooked, broken game.
But that time is over. We, the apathetic majority, need to rise up and once again demand accountability from our government, and if they won’t give it and the press won’t ferret it out, we need to *take* it with the power of our votes.
Aren’t you tired of this endless game of political bullshit? Wouldn’t you love to be inspired by true patriots and leaders, even if you didn’t agree with 100% of their positions? Don’t you want to have our adversarial system set up so that the “other side” are our opposition, not our enemies?
Well, I do, and I intend to use the tiny, almost imperceptible power of my lone vote to do what I think is right. I encourage you to do the same, because together we, the apathetic majority, can change things for the better.
And remember, step one is to clean house, to change the litter box of democracy, to throw the bums out and start fresh with different candidates with diverse ideas and creative solutions, who actually care about America and Americans, not just about re-election and lining their pockets and those of their cronies.
I’m prepared to feel like I’m wasting my vote, but I can no longer do nothing, and I cannot bring myself to acknowledge that either of the two current candidates should be my president. So I’ll vote for whomever I think is the correct person, and I encourage you to do the same.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, let’s take it together.