Have you ever thought about running for a major political office? No? Why not? Could it be because we’ve turned a noble pursuit of public service into such a meat grinder that very few people in their right minds would want to put themselves and their families through such a painful experience? The bloody Roman Colosseum came to mind as I began writing this.
I’m sure there are many people out there more qualified to lead our country than the two choices we have in 2020, but we’ve poisoned the pot for the brightest and the best through the character assassinations the opposing sides put candidates through.
Destroying one’s opponent by whatever means possible has become the standard modus operandi for winning an election, rather than focusing on the issues. I’m hearing a common theme from both sides saying that the future of our democracy depends on you voting for their candidate. And since both sides deal in the truth, that means we are sunk either way, right?
Ugly memes and blatant lies on social media have the power to sway elections, and we, the electorate are allowing that to happen because we aren’t willing to seek the truth for ourselves. Fear is a big motivator, too, to get people to vote their way by convincing them Armageddon will happen if the other side gets in office. The hysterical hype is getting ridiculous.
It’s amazing to me that one side is bringing up dirt on one opponent from 35 years ago, and yet is blind to the current day misbehavior of their own candidate. How many of you could say there are no words or actions from your past that could hurt your run for public office? I could make a list of my own regrets and mistakes, including words I’ve written publicly that I now regret, but I’ve learned from those mistakes and tried to do better. That’s called growth.
I do predict the demise of our country, though, not because one party is elected over the other, but rather because we've destroyed our ability to work together for a common good. Congress is paralyzed by partisanship, and few have the courage to vote their consciences any more if it means stepping outside the party lockstep. Lord, help us.
Do your homework outside of social media. Don't depend on your kids, your parents, your spouse, your significant other, your friends, or even your party’s biases to do the work for you to research the issues and actions on reputable websites before you vote. You might be surprised by what you learn.
Donna Van Cleve
Photo by David Iliff in Wikimedia Commons