I usually shy away from discussing politics, especially is the hyperpartisan landscape that has become the norm in recent years. Like many other folks, I am anxious for the presidential election to be over. Sadly, the tenor of this current campaign is decidely negative with langauage which, not too long ago, would have been considered inappropriate in civil discourse. Now it seems that nothing is out of bounds. Intead of outlining specific plans aimed at correcting the issues we face as a nation going forward in a troubled world and debating the relative merits of those plans, we are subjected to taunting, name calling, bravado, and tales of sexual indesercretion or assult, depending on who is telling the story. Not only that, but with the advent of real-time fact checking, out and out lies are told with impunity. I realize that some of these dark issues have raised their heads in past elections, however I cannot recall one where both candidates were viewed as “unfavorable” by more than half of the registered voters in the United States. This new wave of extreme negativity seems to have been incubated by the establishment of the Tea Party and the resulting rift in the Republican Party. That combined with years of obstructionism during Barack Obamba’s presidency and his attempts to work around that blockage only served to widen the gap between Democrats and Republicans.
With all the negativity and attempts to muddy the waters it is more important than ever to set aside your emotional response to the campaign theatrics and do your due diligence. Discern who has the requsite experience, education, temperment, courage and stamina to successfully lead this great country. Don’t just become enamored with what each side says or how they say it, but ascertain if it is true, if it is reasonable, if it is possible. Is the candidate willing to look for compromise with the other side or will they dig in their heels and prevent us from moving forward. Do not confuse celebrity with political acumen. Be convinced that the candidate you select is truly interested in improving the lives and futures of all Americans, not just the lives and pocketbooks of their donors and friends. It is a right and a privelege to be able to cast a sacred vote for the person who will represent us to the rest of the world. Don’t take it lightly.
In spite of the candidates flaws, real or imagined, I do believe it is my duty and responsibilty to vote for the candidate that is most qualified to assume what is, almost certainly, the most influential political position in the world. I plan to pick up my ballot from the town office and fulfill my civic duty in the coming days. I have done my due dilligenge and know for whom I will vote. I don’t have a lawn sign or a bumper sticker on my car. I want my friends to still be my friends after the election. I believe we all have more in common than we think. I hope that however the election turns out we can all learn to be more civil. That we can disagree without disrespecting. That we can learn to compromise without feeling like we are showing weakness. And that hate, misosyngy, racisim and discord will cease to be a part of our great democracy.