Well, it’s over with now. Or maybe we have a runoff to deal with. I don’t know, because I’m writing this before the results are posted. (I try to blog at least a day in advance. The experts suggest weeks, but I’m not succeeding with that.)
What about it? What have we come to as a nation?
First, we should have elections that are about the best we have to offer. This one was none of that. Attack ads, distortions of the truth, misleading claims. Both of the major parties and their candidates are guilty of this.
Second, we should have elections that appeal to both wisdom and emotion. Watch a campaign ad. Is it about truth and logic? No. It’s about emotion. Barely anything is said—and even candidates’ own websites are more emotional than positional. I tried to do research on various candidates and the majority seem to be running on either “I’m not with President Obama” or “I’m really not with President Obama.”
Third, we should have elections that reflect the collective wisdom of the people, helping tone down the collective selfishness of the people. Instead, we seem to appeal to either “this guy gives me more stuff” or “stick to the man! vote for this guy!”
What about it? Regardless of who wins and loses office, the losers here are the American people.
The first losers are the ones who sacrificed for our freedom to vote. Tell me, with a straight face, that Valley Forge and Omaha Beach were so we could vote for the lesser of two evils or for the one who lines our pockets best. It is dishonoring to those who signed the Constitution not with ink but with blood that we behave this way.
The second losers are the generations to follow us. We are most likely electing two more years of gridlock that will kick the can down the road. The interest and instability will get worse, and there are no solutions. Our grandchildren will either live in poverty or autocracy (or both) because we failed to hold our representative government to a higher standard.
The third losers are us. We fail ourselves in this. Rather than looking even at “our guy” and demanding that he elevate the conversation, we just want him to get good licks in. We don’t want candidates that avoid the mud, and then we find ourselves living in the sty. Guess what? Voting for hogs gets us that.
What should we do?
Absolutely, we should repent before God for our nonsensical attitude as Americans. Those of you who don’t think that God has anything to do with American life haven’t been reading honest history books. We haven’t always done right by God Almighty, but God has certainly been more than gracious to us. And we stomp it. We have greater access to knowledge that should lead to wisdom than many have ever had. We treat it badly, and selfishly. That needs to change, starting with admitting we were wrong.
Break with the old habits. Vote with your dollars in support. Vote with your voice throughout the year. Break with the habit of letting someone go into office and ignoring what they do. Break with blindly assuming someone is going to be okay because she’s in your party. Break it. Now.
Commit to take action. Action changes behavior. Be an ever-present face and voice to your elected officials. Be a force in your local party, do not let the people behind the curtain ignore you. You cannot, legally, threaten an elected official with insurrection but you can sure threaten a party hack with getting him tossed out of hackdom.
Determine to require better. It may take you being on the ballot in a primary. Challenge, drive, push and stop accepting mediocre. We live in a republic and get the candidates we allow.
Educate yourself. Not just from your side’s propaganda, but from all sides. Get the Congressional Record information from the Internet where you can see what was voted for—and see what was bundled with it.
I write this before there are any Arkansas results because I want to be clear: I’m a bitter voter, but not bitter over today’s outcomes. I don’t know them yet. I’m bitter over what we have let the country come to. We the people have to do better.