I was always taught in school that democracy was the best attribute of this great nation; that our collective ability to vote an individual to power ensures our success. I mean, not having the right to vote seems like a terrible thing, but I don’t see voting as the answer either. We all try to convince ourselves that the collective people have the ability to make the right decision. Let’s look at the first logical flaw to this idea majority vote wins: most presidential elections in US history were decided by a majority vote of less than 60%. If the people are right, and every single vote matters, then what about the minority vote? What about the 40% that disagrees, that believes success lies in the other candidate? I could continue to rant about the idea of elections, especially the skew caused by the Electoral College, but I’ll spare you my monologue and get to my point.
Elections are simply a popularity contest. There is no actual election of the best candidate, but the candidate that most people like. The man (yes I mean man, it’s not sexism, simply history’s outcome) who seems most “presidential looking,” kisses the most babies, salutes the most soldiers on picturesque naval ships and who smears and construes the other candidates the most wins. In previous elections this truth has been at least thinly veiled, but not this time around. This year’s presidential election process has been one like no other in history.
It started off almost a year ago with the republican primary. Frankly, that was just a joke. Every couple of weeks the leader in the polls would dramatically change. Even Herman Cain had his moment of glory. These polls went back and forth like this for the simple reason that no one was talking about policies. It was all simply mud slinging and pandering. The candidates wanted to talk more about the number of wives Newt Gingrich had than the number of dollars his presidency would spend. The polls simply showed the flavor of the week that seemed to fill the people’s hate filled appetite.
The candidate that led was able to expose the most scandals of another running mate, or debase republican enemy #1’s( President Obama) legitimacy as president. The only two candidates that had a plan and refused to degrade themselves to this level, John Huntsman and Ron Paul, never even got their two weeks of spotlight.
Now let’s fast forward to today. this whole week despite being bogged down by massive amounts of homework, I sat down with my dad to watch the Republican National Convention.
This convention was supposed to be the turning point for the message of the Romney campaign. There were wide spread rumors of him finally telling the people his plan for a better America, which is actually try to make this election about what’s best for the country. Throughout the week various speakers came out and spewed the same old “down with Socialist Obama,’ and ‘up with the shining and glorious God Romney”. That was okay. I mean I expected nothing less, but I was just waiting for either Romney or Paul Ryan to speak. I was sure one of them would at least present an idea as to what should be done.
After a long and drawn out series of Odes to Ryan’s greatness, he finally came up to speak. If you’ve read this far, you should know that I was deeply disappointed. His speech didn’t speak a word of what a Romney presidency would do. It was an almost painful twenty minutes of him blaming every problem this nation faces on President Obama, and portraying an unfamiliar utopian world of what America was before Obama became president. The grand finale of Romney’s speech wasn’t much different. President Obama at least sometimes speaks about what he has done these past 4 years, but he has yet to utter a word about the prospects of a second term.
The attacks from the left have been disgraceful as well. An attack ad with the innuendo of Romney leaving a poor man’s wife to die of cancer without healthcare was just wrong. See my point now? Each candidate’s campaign for the highest seat in the land try to simply make you hate the other candidate. It’s all just a popularity contest.
So who is to blame? The campaign? The media? No.
I believe it is the people. It is our collective fault for falling for this. We are the ones that created the environment that makes this form of campaigning to be the most effective one. In the democratic system we live in, the people are the check and balance of what occurs in government. Washington has crept into these shady ways because we allowed it to happen.
Now I know this blog isn’t going to change that. But I simply want to get a message across to the seniors that will be able to vote for the first time this year: Please do not listen to the political drivel that is flung around every corner. Hold government to the standard it should be held. Before you go out to vote, become informed. There is no such thing as an unbiased source of political information. So simply listen to both sides, do your own research and come to your own conclusions. The same way that you want to be more “indie” in your choice of clothes and music, be an individual within your political views. Do not become one of the mindless zombies that listen and believe. They are the ones that have allowed this great nation to falter.