It has occurred to me that what most Americans tend to ignore (or choose to) is that regardless of party affiliation, we all want the same things…affordable healthcare, a stable economy, job growth, immigration reform and a firm foreign policy. What we don’t all agree on is how to do it, at what cost, at whose expense and what the long term consequences are. We probably could if there were not so many special interest issues that directly impacted large sectors of society. And so we put forth our best solution, the most elite and educated among us who are all much better at dividing than uniting and who regard themselves behind the guise of statesmanship as wardens, democratically selected to protect us from ourselves. It is a system that virtually ensures that we will be limited in our choices to the lesser evil of two and that we will be incessantly engaged in a divisive civil war of political ideology, hijacking some of the biggest issues of our time. The moral ones are not new ones, just more visible and those of us who have opposing opinions about them are still Americans, good people who simply have differing views, exploited by our best solution and its special interests. Some of us are left staring down the barrel of explosive issues that directly and immediately impact a love one while others will see a more distant threat to our democracy, each expecting the other one to wake up and see the light. Still others will see an opportunity to push an agenda and thanks to the advent of social media, more citizens than ever will simply fall for the political hype and cheer on the best dressed or the wittiest of the two. We are certainly more “clued in” to the popular points of political contention but most of us still don’t have a clue about the broader range of issues. Everyone claims to have the facts, yet even our fact checkers facts don’t add up.
Lyndon B. Johnson was the President of the United States when I was born. I have lived through 9 administrations and watched the successive transfer of the office back and forth between these two evils just as it has throughout history. I am glad that we have a democratic process with checks and balances but I am frustrated by the lack of continuity and the broken record mentality in a system dominated by career politicians from the red and the blue. It will not change in my lifetime nor that of my children and I reluctantly accept that, knowing that my vote counts :). I suspect that even my grandson will have centrist views. If I had my druthers, I would hope he would have the opportunity to raise his family in a Capitalist society and not a Democratic Socialist one, but that would be my personal and humble wish and for a multitude of reasons rooted in the philosophical genius of the founders. That said, I respect the power of wide debate, but reject the monopolizing nature of our two party system.
For those who intend to get out and vote next month, I commend you, no matter how facetious I may have come across. But if you are voting for a candidate on a singular issue or intend to simply ride the party line, remember this…after election day, we the people bleed purple.