Monday, October 10, 2016

Op-ed (Political, only going to do this once, ever)

Well, I would like to thank both parties for putting on the most amazing, absolutely classiest debate about substantive policy issues and action plans to help ensure the future of our country last night.  St. Louis could barely contain the statesmen (women) at their finest, discussing their political perspectives and engaging each other on their policy positions rather than any of a myriad of potential social and personal issues.  America absolutely deserves these two candidates right now.

How'd we get here folks?  We have two of the most unlikeable candidates in the history of American politics running against each other.  We started with twenty some odd Republican choices, around five Democrats, a Libertarian who doesn't know anything about anyone or anywhere outside of the borders of the US, and a Green party candidate who I've never heard of.  Now we're down to Donald Trump, an alleged Republican who behaves like a twelve year old, Hilary Clinton, who just doesn't feel trustable, Gary Johnson, our Libertarian choice, and Dr. Jill Stein, the Green party choice.

Our political parties are trying to figure out what the hell to do with the candidates they have this year, and frankly the democrats are doing a better job of managing their candidate than the Republicans.  I've seen paid attention to elections over the last twenty or so years (before that I was a child, and elections didn't really mean anything to me, I voted for Dukakis because his name sounded more awesome than the other guy), and I think that this is the lowest we've ever been.  Neither candidate has any appeal to moderates in the middle, and the party base is struggling to manage with these options. 

Donald Trump is a disaster in every imaginable way.  From a social perspective, he speaks about an America that could be, but the societal changes needed to bring that about are about as likely as Donald being elected the President of Mars.  He says he has a plan about how fix the economy, fight ISIS, and save the world.  He's not going to tell us what those plans are, we have to trust him on that.  I'm sorry Mr. Trump, but you don't get to claim the Papacy card, and that we have to take your policies on faith.  I can't do it, and more importantly, I shouldn't have to.  If you have substantive policy decisions and plans that will help America, write them down, pay the money and put them on TV or the internet so we can see them.  If I have to accept you on the face of your personality, you're fired.  You lack an essential self-control component to make public appearances and say things that other people within your own political establishment find deplorable.  If your base can't support your words, how are the rest of us?

Mike Pence may seem like a calm alternative, but remember he's the Indiana Governor who signed the law in place that allowed businesses to claim religious exemptions to providing services to the LGBTQ community.  The same logic that created the crisis in North Carolina over bathrooms is writ large over Indiana and could affect tourism and trade throughout the state.  Being the most acceptable alternative to Donald Trump isn't hard, I strongly suggest the man on the Quaker Oats Box. 

I'm going to try to be non-partisan, and the Democratic candidates have problems of their own.  Just so you don't think there's any bias going on, I dislike their options as much as I dislike the Republican choices. 

Hilary Clinton is a problem for her entire party.  That problem is a transparency one, and she continues to exacerbate the problem by making decisions that don't make any sense.  The one that I find the most telling of all the obfuscations and omissions that she's made relate directly to the 9/11 ceremony.  Personally, if I had known she had pneumonia, I wouldn't have expected her to attend ceremony at all.  The video of her stumbling/nearly collapsing into her entourage scared the hell out of me.  IF she'd been honest with us upfront about the situation, it wouldn't have been a situation at all.  She doesn't feel honest and genuine, and that's a problem in this election cycle.  If Hilary Clinton were perceived as a genuine, honest person, she'd have won this election all ready. 

Tim Kaine, I know nothing about other than he's the Governor of Virginia, plays the Harmonica, seems like a guy that makes Dad jokes, and has connections to Kansas City.  He scores points on three of those points, so we'll give him a pass. 

So you've got a 12 year old super bully on steroids against a person who doesn't appear to be capable of telling the truth until you catch her in a lie.  (Again, not saying Hillary is a liar, but her choices on when and whom to share information with need serious re-evaluation).  How in the Blue Hell did either one of these two get elected their party's candidate without putting forth anything resembling policy decisions and plans?

There are a lot of people to blame for this situation, and I'm going to start that list with the American People (yes, I'm one of them, and yes, this is partly my fault, I'm sorry).  America, over the last twenty years or so has been a country where the loudest person talking has gotten all of the attention.  This means that within a given political party, 5% are screaming like lunatics while the rest are just trying to take care of themselves.  We've got kids to raise, houses to pay for, and jobs to look out for.  We don't have the time or the impetus to get up in other people's faces about what the other party is doing to allegedly screw us over.  The vocal minority is working as hard as it can to get its own way, and in the process drive the rest of us off a cliff into a dumpster fire.  The Silent majority of the party is going to have to put its foot down, apply the brakes and start to pay attention to where we are and how we got there.  That majority (and it exists in both parties, Republican and Democrat) needs to start taking care of itself and the country, because the other folks don't see it as their job to take care of the country.  Their job is simply to take what they can from the political system while no one else is watching. 

The News media took an all ready dicey situation and applied accelerant and fire.  If you had made this a discussion about policy and planning instead of letting it turn into a popularity contest, D. Trump wouldn't have made it out of the primaries, and we might have something refreshing, like M. Rubio vs. B. Sanders.  Trump is playing the media like a violin, and knows that all he has to do is keep acting like a horse's ass and they'll keep following him around so they can report on the excrement that falls out.  By the same token, whichever reporters following Clinton let her go for nearly six months without holding a press conference should have their press passes taken away.  You're done as journalists.  Rather than making this a national discussion about the policy and substance of where either candidate thinks our country (and it still is our country) should go and how to get there, the media has made it the prom king elections. 

The major parties in this country are just as responsible for this mess as everyone else.  Parties used to stand for things.  They had ideals, beliefs, and goals that by working together, we could achieve those goals and make America better (Not great, but better).  Now they seem like filters for money and are more concerned with getting specific people out of office rather than putting forth new ideas and pushing for their party's platform.  When did it become the goal of a political party to get the other party of office? 

As a person who considers himself a conservative republican, I vehemently despise this election and what it means for our country.  It doesn't matter which side wins this election, because the other side is going to believe that the other side cheated and the all ready rancorous political process is going to continue.  We won't see a more effective government in four years, maybe even eight years.  Our country will continue to slip away, until we hit that point where we collectively look around and say "Where is America?  I don't recognize this place anymore."  I'm rapidly finding that I can't stomach the leaders of my chosen party.  I think I would much rather consider myself an American than a Republican or a Democrat.  We're all to blame for this state of affairs, I hope we can weather the storm of choices that led us here to build a brighter future.

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