Like a deadly avalanche the US political process seems out of control
Please understand that in writing the following, I have no ax to grind for or against either liberals or conservatives individually or as a group. I am extremely happy to live in the country I do and to be a part of our political process.
I am not a political junkie, but I do try to keep myself informed of the issues and candidates at all levels, and I vote in every election and primary. Having said that, I find myself deeply disturbed about where the political process had evolved over my lifetime.
Like a deadly avalanche that starts with a seemingly harmless little snowball nobody notices, then moves with increasing rapidity and achieves a deadly velocity causing massive damage and perhaps loss of life, the political process and mind set seems to me to be out of control in this country and some others possibly with catastrophic consequences.
At this moment we seem to have two candidates that will contest for the office of the most powerful person in the United States, if not the world. Each of these candidates, to put it mildly, has serious flaws that should preclude their nomination and election before even the launch of their campaigns.
While I can be fairly verbose, I find myself at a loss for words to express my dismay at the candidate that seems to utter an almost non-sensical stream of consciousness at every stop, interview, and opportunity a microphone provides.
On the other hand, we have a candidate that has, at best, some problems with the truth, some severe errors of judgement in handling her country’s secret information, and is less than forthcoming in divulging information when requested by congress and others.
I could go on about their shortcomings, but I think you get the general idea.
I am sure that there are no simple explanations to how we arrived at this point, in which debate between our two nominees seems to degenerate to the equivalent of the playground interaction of “so’s your old man” and “your mother wears combat boots”.
I have a number of theories, but few solutions. Allow me to share my theories with you:
- Nobody sensible would run for public office, let alone that office of President, Prime Minister, or any other Head of State in a democratically elected system. Who would want to put themselves and their families to the scrutiny and rigors that comes with seeking such an office?The press demands that each candidate be sinless and a genius with flawless memory and an encyclopedic grasp of every topic, foreign and domestic. Any errors committed are displayed with glee in every media that will print or cover them.Of course candidates seem to think that each member of the electorate has the IQ of a rock and will believe whatever the candidate says, and the candidate can never say “I made a mistake”. Somehow politicians are convinced that such an admission to being merely human would disqualify a candidate, and surely none of we voters could possible want someone who is candid enough and humble enough to admit human fallibility.
- There is a general anger at the behavior of sitting politicians and their disregard of the basic laws of economics and responsibility. In this country we have a debt that is beyond comprehension and each year, regardless of who is in power, we spend in excess of our income and add to that debt.It perplexes many of us that we cannot run our own lives that way, and we cannot understand how legislators and heads of governments cannot grasp that same idea.Added to this is the flagrant arrogance of a legislative body that exempts itself from the laws it passes that we are required to obey. Such arrogance reminds me of quote attributed to Louis XIV, king of France, in which he declares “I am the State”, therefore above all the rest of we peasants.
In spite of the well-documented discontent with our elected officials at all levels, we continue to send these same scoundrels back to office each time they stand for re-election.
For those serving, this means they can continue to hold a seat that allows them a wage and benefit package that most of their constituency can only imagine. It also appears that holding office all too often entitles one to be immune from prosecution for crimes and misdemeanors that send us to jail. Or if caught with the proverbial hand in the cookie jar, a legislator can be excused with simple saying “I’m sorry” and continue to hold office.
Somehow we don’t understand why there are two such divergent standards of enforcement and prosecution.
Sadly this anger has led us to what can only be an embarrassment that is self-inflicted and a candidate that plays to that anger. I have no idea what this means to me, but I live in fear of what it means for my children and grandchildren if this downward slide continues unabated. I also have no solution in mind, other than feeling that somehow the solution must start with changing the graph below in future elections:
|Total number of Americans eligible to vote||218,959,000|
|Total number of Americans registered to vote||146,311,000|
|Total number of Americans who voted in the 2012 Presidential election||126,144,000|
|Percent of Americans who voted in the 2012 Presidential election||57.5 %|
When only slightly more than half of eligible people vote, I think that those elected are entitled to think that they, like Louis the XIV, are the state and can continue to do as they please and as it benefits them directly.
Maybe Joseph de Maistre was correct when he wrote in 1811 “Every nation gets the government it deserves”.
Is this where we are now?