Sunday, March 20, 2016

Paving The Road To Hell

The road to hell is supposed to have been paved with good intentions. But in the year of our Lord two thousand and sixteen it was paved by the Presidential primary.  Many candidates who in a normal year would be not only electable, but probably would have been elevated and the discourse that followed would have moved beyond the tumescent fodder, perpetrated by the unscrupulous and opprobrious candidates we have now.

It is a cycle that was thought to be dominated by conservatives who had learned the lessons from the last two elections. The left lost the Senate at the midterms and seemed like they would lose the White House in November. What started as a broad yet strong field of worthy GOP candidates got high jacked and then annihilated by a candidate whose antics and speech patterns rival that of a lounge comic hosting a "B" list celebrity roast on HBO. I've learned many a pundit swear if it were not for the billions in the bank his run for office would have been cut short. But I don't know if I would get that far. The best analogy came the other night when a pundit stated "Blue collar voters identify with him because if they had billions it's how they would behave."
There are two very clear messages this year and neither of them will lead voters or the country to anything other than ruin. The far left is driving a message that gives the middle finger to rich white men and multi billion dollar / multinational corporations. Telling the working poor, minorities, uneducated, and unemployed that their plight is being overseen by the oligarchy only fuels suspicion and hate. But at the same time gives license for failure because if elected the Democratic party will gleefully take from the rich and give to the poor. We have diminished and demonized success to the point where wealth equals oppression. It is not to be striven for.

The right on the other hand has decided to adopt an entirely different route.  Simply put brown people are unfit.  They are the cause for stagnate wages, high unemployment, high priced health care and should be stigmatized by the government. Brown people should be rounded up, shipped out and prevented from coming or returning. It brought to mind another leader not so very long ago who came to power using an eerily similar message.

These messages strike the right cord to the low information voter. Permission has been given to strike out to the perceived oppressor. Facts don't matter, right and wrong gets a pass, policy positions are equated to misdirection and obfuscation. Being investigated by the FBI is water under the bridge. Lying to the electorate is open and substituted for fact. The world at large is as befuddled as We The People.

In this nation, we like to blame the shifty politician for how things are in government. The blame does not reside, nor does it visit our doorsteps. This is not to say I believe elected officials at any level should get a pass on the bills they draft, cosponsor or vote on.  But there was a time not so long ago we both admired and believed in those who both sought and held elected office.  A lot of trust is maintained in those spaces.  There are many aspects and complexities to the power brokering that takes place in Washington. Outsiders look down their noses at those who swap favors for votes. But that is all we do is bicker and complain. Effective change means becoming part of the process.  Getting educated on the policies in dispute and then determining a candidate whom you feel will work for all they represent.

More importantly, however, we cannot tolerate a campaign that seeks to tarnish the office they seek, backtracking on issues and accountability for position changes should be vetted. Because evolving on polices should be expected in the long term. Notice I said campaign and not the candidate? It was on purpose because the elected for the most part are the handmaiden of those who got them elected. This is where the actual power resides.

People who lead campaigns are like professional athletes and coaches. They have been traded, hired and fired at close to the same rates as ball players when free agency opens.  Most have supported one another as frequently as they opposed. Politics is the best breeding ground for nepotism ever created.

But I digress, we are down to a lounge act, socialist, unindicted felon, reincarnated apostle, and John Kaisch.  And come November my vote may get down to a coin toss followed by a prayer and three fingers of bourbon neat for the courage to follow through.