April 4, 2012 – When it comes to American politics, it is often said we end up voting for the lesser of two evils. Given that we are a free people with the privilege to elect whoever we want, why do we take such a nonchalant attitude about those who create our laws and lead our nation?
This way of thinking would not hold up anywhere else outside of politics. Can you imagine eating in a restaurant and choosing between left over scraps from other diners, or rotten food that would make you sick? Of course not. Yet when it comes to voting, we are not dismayed when faced with candidates we know aren’t up for the job.
Could it be that we are so comfortable with our lives that politics is nothing but a casual sport? Or is it because people believe that it won’t make a difference one way or another? Either way, many politicians depend on the ignorance of the American people. They want us to stay uninformed because our lack of knowledge is the only reason they have jobs, the handsome pensions that they created for themselves, and first-class benefits that will last their lifetime.
Need more proof that the politicians are getting their way? A 2010 Pew Research Center poll showed that less than 60 percent of Americans could correctly answer questions about our political system, and I believe this is exactly the way they want it. The more complicated they make their jobs and the process seem, the more they can get away with.
The upcoming presidential election may be the worst offense yet. Last week, a news report claims that 52 percent of voters do not like any of the Republican candidates. While this statistic didn’t indicate whether the people polled were Republican or Democrat, I know enough Republicans who are unhappy with this selection of candidates to safely say they hope that no one receives the party’s nomination, and someone great steps in at the last minute and takes the party by storm at the Republican National Convention.
The same goes for the other side. Just as many Democrats are unhappy with the job President Obama has done over the past four years. I’ve heard enough people comment, and I’ve read the news reports that claim people don’t believe President Obama has the greatest track record, and if there were another option, they would consider it.
We accept the scraps these candidates feed to us like obedient children. By the end of the summer, we’ll likely have exactly what many of us don’t want – a choice between the incumbent candidate Barack Obama (who just announced to a group at a recent fundraiser that capitalism doesn’t work, and who was caught telling Vladimir Putin to wait until he’s reelected before they make any changes), and challenger Mitt Romney (who many Republicans believe is not conservative enough, and who is out of touch with the average struggling American). This match will most likely turn into a long, dirty campaign that the majority of Americans, both Republican and Democrat, despise. It’s a sad state of affairs, and a sadder way to select someone to run our country, and have a major impact on the world.
Politics has always been a dirty business, and it’s been that way long before now, dating back to the days of Washington and Jefferson. It just seems uglier now because neither party will compromise and most politicians seem to be in it for their own gain.
Getting back to the original question: does it really matter who our next president is? I want to shout out YES, because it should, but there is too much political unrest and not enough compromise between our political parties to achieve anything worthwhile, no matter who is in office. And we’ll likely have two candidates who are not faithful to their parties, or to the people gave them this opportunity in the first place. It’s no wonder people don’t want to vote (although that is not the answer to this problem).
So what do we do? Go back to voting for the lesser of two evils, and pray for a miracle?
As if we have any other choice.