It’s been a long hard run for all of us weary spectators to the blood sport of American presidential politics. Are you as exhausted as I am?
I’ve posted before about this sad chapter in American history. How did we get here? I know there are enthusiastic supporters for both major party candidates, but I can’t help but feel that whoever wins, we’ve all lost.
We’ve lost our collective dignity, and I believe, a large measure of world respect. I’m embarrassed for the whole lot of us. I can’t imagine where we’ll go from here. I think it will take a long time to rebuild faith in our process, in our system. So many charges of corruption and both major candidates being unfit to serve…it’s disheartening to think this is what we’ve come to.
I know elections from other eras also had a lot of mudslinging, accusations of dishonesty and scandal. Maybe what we’re experiencing isn’t unique. But it feels that way. It feels like we’ve stooped to new lows, as a country. I want debate discussions to be about issues that affect us all, not about salacious personal details or possible criminal charges. I’m tired of the national political figures seeming more fit to be in a soap opera than the next leader of the United States.
I want to believe. Maybe that’s just naiveté I never outgrew, but I want to be able to believe in our leaders. I don’t care if the president is man, woman, black, brown, white, or whatever ethnic background…I just want this person to be honest, and to try to do what they promise. I’m not looking for perfection. I am looking for sincerity.
And as important, I want to believe our system is honest. How can any of us feel good about anyone winning the election if we can’t believe it was won honestly and fairly?
I’ve given up hope for this election. I couldn’t vote for either candidate, though I did vote down ballot. But here’s what I do hope:
- I hope we’ll see a grass-roots movement rise up and demand that both major parties clean house, clean up any whiff of corruption or dishonesty, and improve their internal processes to allow more access, and more transparency. It is disgraceful that we have two candidates who are widely disliked and distrusted. What does that say about us as a nation, that these are the best we could field for this office?
- I hope we can have a national conversation about the lessons learned from this cycle, and what we can do better…surely that would cover almost everything that’s happened.
- I hope we’ll find ways to require voter id from everyone, and at the same time ensure that process leaves no one out…voter id requirements should never be used to limit voting.
- We need to talk about the pros and cons of early voting and any voting options that reduce voting on election day. I understand the value of absentee voting, but I also think all these voting options make it more difficult to ensure voting is fair and that votes are counted accurately. Whether I’m happy about any election outcome or not, I want to believe results are accurate based on actual votes. It demeans the process and erodes faith when we can’t believe in our system, whether the charges are that one party is trying to stuff the ballot box, or the other party is trying to suppress votes. We need clean voting, and we need to make it an easy task…in this era of brilliant technology, surely we could sort this out?
- I think we need to redesign the process as to the way some states seem to matter, and others don’t. You see this during primary season, and definitely for the national election. So many states are really just taken for granted…maybe that’s inevitable given the known voting records and demographics, but still, it feels unfair and unbalanced that half a dozen states, or maybe even a single state, can be make-or-break for the winner. Another reason to require everyone, in both primary and national elections, to vote on the same day.
- I think we need to shorten the election cycle, by law, so we end these never-ending runs for office that begin as soon as the last vote is cast in the current cycle. Enough! Give us a break from the madness! Spend some time doing the job, not simply campaigning to keep the job at the next election.
- We need to limit the amount of money anyone can spend on a campaign. We need to find some way to both control the money that special interest groups throw at the process, and open opportunity to candidates who are not personally wealthy or come from political pedigrees…in other words, make it possible for “average” Americans to have a shot at political offices, even the highest one. When I say “average,” I don’t mean to dismiss education or pertinent experience…those requirements should be a given…but we definitely need new ideas, new blood and innovation.
- I’ve read pros and cons about term limits. I think our system would be healthier if politicians could not become entrenched for life, regardless of job performance. Same for judges, at all levels. I particularly think Supreme Court judges should have service limits. Elected officials should serve and move on to something else, and I’d also like to see regulation of politicians moving into lobbyist positions…I’m not sure much good will be achieved with term limits if politicians can simply move next door and continue to be part of the process in the private sector. I really think we need some way to ensure that once a politician has hit term limits, he/she is required to return to civilian life rather than stay on in the political arena of influence.
I’ve said I’m less concerned about who wins than that the winner be a person of integrity and that they, and their entourage, be people of honor. I would like to think honor still exists among those who seek high office.
I’m not one to advocate for rebellion or violence, but I’m convinced after the travesty we’ve witnessed, with all the drama, name calling, and dirty tricks, we, the American public, deserve better, and should demand change before we go through another electoral cycle.
You have to be an adult to vote. I would like to believe I have choices of responsible, honest, and honorable adults to vote for. We have serious problems, and we need serious candidates to step up. But we, the voting citizens, have an obligation here too…we need to raise our voices to demand change, demand honesty, and get involved at every level to ensure that happens.
Maybe then we could get excited about voting again.