Check your sanity here during the campaign season
By now you may be able to recite the names of all the candidates who aspire to occupy the Oval Office; at the very least, you are familiar with most of the candidates. In the Republican side (there are at least 15), names such as Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Rand Paul, not to forget Donald Trump are in the news every day. In the Democrat side, not much noise is made but about two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (Vermont Senator); the other three are Lincoln Chafee (74th Governor of Rhode Island), Martin O’Malley (61st Governor of Maryland) and Jim Webb (former US Senator of Virginia. Of course, the race has just begun; more could be in the wing, especially in the Democrat camp.
If you’re Republican or Democrat, chances are there is nothing anyone can tell you, there is nothing any candidate can offer, there is no circumstance under which you’d vote against your party. Even heaven doesn’t stand a chance to change your mind. You’ve already made up your mind; you will vote your party no matter what; it doesn’t matter how much your party may have screwed up; it doesn’t matter how much harm it may have caused to the country. As far as you are concerned, you are fine with the status quo.
Ironically, you’d be the first to blame Washington, to tag politicians (of the opposing party) as corrupt, to express your disappointment, to throw the towel. You’d reason the other party is to blame. Hmm! Hmm! May I be your conscience for a moment!
- First, it should not be an option for you to vote; – if you’re eligible to vote – people from undemocratic countries will offer (and have) their lives to have the freedom to vote, to make their voices heard, to express themselves, to make their choices count. Voting should be made mandatory in the United States.
- Second, voting is not an opportunity to retaliate, to get back at the opposing party; voting is a mechanism to help veer the country in a better direction. In other words, when you pick someone to run the country, you should take into consideration whether that individual would do good by your children and your children’s children. If the candidate of your party does not have the qualifications to do so, you should have the courage NOT to vote him/her into office. Keep in mind that your vote today will impact your children’s future.
- Third, voting is not a feel good exercise; so, before it starts getting crazy, before the stampede begins, before sound bites start taking a bite out of your common sense, before you forget the important reason for voting, begin to prepare a list of issues (be it in education, health care, the justice system, international relations) you’d like to get answers to from those who want to occupy the Oval Office. Keep in mind however that just because someone promises the moon doesn’t mean s/he can take you there. You have to watch for those with conviction, consistency not just words.
- Fourth, to have a list is a great start but it’s useless exercise if you sit at home waiting for those issues to be addressed; go to gathering, go to town hall style meetings with the candidates where you will have the opportunity to ask them to address those issues. If you rely on journalists to bring them up, you’ll be very disappointed. As it might already be obvious by now, there are only reporters (individuals who simply report) without challenging sound bites and at times outright lies and fanatic broadcasters (individuals who simply promote their candidates, their party).
To paraphrase the late pop singer Michael Jackson, “if you want to change the country, take a look at yourself and make the change”. Much too often, we spend too much time trying to change others when it’s very simple to change the way we think, the way we behave, the way we choose our Representatives, the way we choose our President. The late terrorist mastermind bin Laden believed that to punish the American civilians is fair and just since they’ve elected the officials who make decisions on their behalves. As much as it is tempting to wish we could kill him several times over, his words are not without merit. So, let’s not continue to make the same mistakes over and over. Let’s not choose our next president based on party affiliation, sound bites and fanaticism. The race is on but your emotions should not be.
Check with us soon for the next 2016 campaign update.Follow @mducheiney