Having been through quite a lot of elections in my decades of newspaper work, I have to say that this year’s was without a doubt the strangest.
Only one other time that I can recall has an election been held where a winner wasn’t immediately known was the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. You know, the one that ended a month later after a series of lawsuits.
(If you don’t recall, look up “hanging chads” on the interweb.)
So here we are 20 years later, and it was, as Aerosmith sez, “same old story, same old song and dance, my friend.”
For purposes of this column, though, I’m not about the winner. I’m talking about the process, and what seems to be the new same old story.
If you noticed anything about the election this year, you noticed that there was very little substance provided by the candidates — for every race. There was no discussion about plans, no debate about the future, not one idea or way of thinking was put forth to give us an indication of what the future would hold.
My sister-in-law, who is liberal as the day is long, and myself, who really really is not, agree on this, which is rare as hens’ teeth.
I see it like this: Politics nowadays is like NFL teams, with the presidential election being like the Super Bowl. However, it’s become about the teams deciding who should be the quarterback, talking about stats and the big game from years ago.
What’s missing from this show is a game plan and, well, the actual gameplay. It’s just the two teams hollering at each other and their own teams, completely caught up in their own world.
The other thing that’s missing from this equation is the fans. Or, in the world of politics, the people.
These two bantamweights were arguing about who did what when, how they could have done it better, pointing out scandals and missed opportunities, and generally being disagreeable for months. There was nothing about things that need to matter — like actually playing and winning the game.
I didn’t hear how either of the candidates would fix the nation’s problems that they’re actually supposed to care about. They’re supposed to do things about the pesky $20 trillion debt that’s handing over the heads of the taxpayers for centuries. They’re supposed to care about trillion-dollar deficits, about the borders, about, well, the people they’re pretending to represent.
Us fans, or constituents, if you will, are mostly if not all to blame for this, because we let this happen. The difference here, though, is that if we were only NFL fans, we can leave the stadium and never come back, never buy another ticket or a piece of swag.
With this country, though, it really doesn’t matter who is the winner; both teams will have their hands in our pockets and take more and more, all the while telling us it’s our patriotic duty to fund every scheme and plan that will just make our lives rosy and unicorns and puppies. It’s government that being done to us, not of, by or for us.
See, we’ve become, in the manifest destiny of our country, the cardboard cutouts filling the stands, there only to give the players, our elected representatives, something to provide a sense of why they’re competing.
We need to be more than that. We need to take back control, since that’s how this country was supposed to work. It’s gonna be tough, and will take a lot of time — it took decades to get to this point — but I truly believe that we need to be the ones in charge, not the elite few in Washington, D.C.
We’re near a tipping point, and if we get a government that controls — not just regulates — all the aspects of our lives, it will mean the end of the American dream, in my view, since once a government gets power, it never gives it back, and since it has the power to give it to you, it has the power to take it away.
I hope this election, if nothing else, opened a few eyes to the trap we’re about to step in.