Choosing by Default... by Merwin
Republican by Default / Part Two
Where is the leadership? Where are those who could be our nation's first choices regardless of their party loyalties?
We have years, nay... decades of betrayal burdened upon us by those we trusted at least enough to put them in office.
Our collective naivete was overwhelming when we first joined the voting ranks, it waned into skepticism fairly quickly and unless one was very careful, they could slip into the ever growing ranks of the conspiracy theorists.
My personal self-description draws smirks nearly every time I share it, it is an oxymoron, so I understand the scorn. I term myself as a Republican-Socialist, more than anything else to get the reaction, but it does kind of fit me even if it does not mesh philosophically.
I believe in some social reform, but I also believe in economic health brought on by strong free market capitalism which one really can not have in an overtaxed over regulated business environment, especially for the smaller privately owned businesses. I am against government waste and big government that fosters it, while also being in favor of a strong military and public programs for government assistance... up to a point.
So other than leaning slightly in the direction of conspiracy theories, I see myself as a mainstream, moderate Republican, that is willing to vote for sound, clear, leadership with a legitimately clear record of responsible voting on issues. And, I don't care what party they may be in. For example in the last three Presidential Elections I voted for my "write in candidate" Alan Keyes, but that is neither here nor there, except that I believe him to be honest and consistent.
It is I believe, fair to ask, how do we find our leaders?
Now we are getting to the crux, now, we are encountering our enigma, our Gordian Knot.
With the recent midterm elections we all experienced a re-visitation of the mud-slinging, slugfest that is common for months prior to any election. These episodes are extremely intrusive if one is disinterested and laborious if one is. And they do little to convince us of anything other than all our choices are little more than a bunch of crooks.
So and so voted for this heinous bill, or that yea-hoo is in bed with those creeps that gave obscene amounts to get him or her elected, and "Stand up, it is time for change!" YADA YADA YADA
All the while, the only thing that changes is their camouflage... it keeps getting more sophisticated.
The "whichever candidate" needs to be attractive in appearance and confident in delivery. That seems to be their only necessary prerequisites for election.
Lame voting records can be spun, "...well the only reason So and So voted for that bill is because someone piggy backed their bill on to the one So and So helped author... you know, the one So and So promised their constituency... it was a mandate".
And the campaign contributions are a non-issue only because everyone gets them... and they cannot get re-elected without them.
Could you possibly vote for someone you knew nothing about..? The answer to that may surprise you... the answer is yes... we do it all the time.
Inspired, honest leadership is nearly impossible to find, but, not because it does not exist. Why should it be so hard? It is so, because of what I will say is in the Smoke and Mirrors category of "magical politics".
Smoke... would be the practice of Piggy Backing one bill on to another for the purpose of getting it passed, mostly because it could not get passed on its own merit. So, the authors of the bad bill get it "attached" to a bill that is certain to collect enough votes to get them both through.
Later during the re-election of that candidate that authored the good bill and who voted (of course) for the passing of it, is vilified for having voted for the stupid bill that is counter to those folks that originally elected him.
It ends up being some mud that is slung, "So and So says he is for this... but then he voted for that... can you really trust So and So?
Mirrors... campaign contributions. This is appropriately named because whatever mud is slung because of this could be equally slung at the person doing the slinging, and one should be looking in a mirror before they even start. This might be the reason why most of these ads are being sponsored by the candidates party more than the candidate themselves, these individuals only want to spend time in front of the mirror to primp.
Usually the big corporations that contribute... contribute to both sides because they want whoever wins to be beholden to them.
Back to default. As alluded to, there may indeed be valuable leadership amongst all the smoke and mirror machinery, but how could they make themselves known among the nonsense? If they have thrown themselves in there with the machinery wolves, they have done so with the desire to make a difference, to be part of the solution. Unfortunately they end up as part of the problem and to such an extreme as they too become mudslingers adding to the camouflage of smoke and mirrors and talking heads.
We have not been voting for leaders with a platform, issues or ideologies... we cast our ballots for the default candidate. We vote for those that seem to have betrayed the public trust the least! And then... even then, we are not sure of our choice.
This speaks to our levels of our collective estrangement, and how much the public trust has been violated.
This last election had record turnouts... not as a response to inspired leadership but the voters wanted to deliver a "smack down".
Yes... we are tired of being violated, but violated by whom?
Violated by what... is more accurate. We have been politically defiled by the smoke and mirror system that has been in place for many decades (See Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Jimmy Stewart). A system that has reduced us to the process of choosing the lesser of two evils, and the mudslinging is evidence of this, with the candidates saying "he or she is way more evil than I... vote for me."
There are many ways to clean up the mirror part, but for me the simplest way is to enforce equal time through the medias and the government (us, you and I), pays for the time. We are paying a lot more (in more than just money) for the nonsense that is going on now... then they would be for officially "paid for" by the public, and be assured equal time campaigning.
Smoke removal... no more piggy backing bills! What a person stands for will be extremely clear, and if they are compromising to get their bill past (I'll vote for yours if you vote for mine) then that would be showcased as well, and for the first time since the abhorrent practice of piggy backing bills began, we will be able to make our ballot decision an informed one.
Finally, default voting or voting party lines, is at best a discouragement to our would be heroes that, as a result, hesitate to step up. And at worst the evidence of a criminally corrupt machine.
We cannot blame the blueprints that the machine gets its empowerment from; our Constitution can once again be recouped to its former health. No... our collective finger of correction must point to the mechanics and operators in charge of misguiding the machine.
First and foremost we need reform that allows for true leadership to come forward and be encouraged that doing the right thing will be recognized and rewarded. Remove term limits as an across the board recognition, that as long as you are doing the things you need to do to get elected, you will be re-elected.
We must insist on leadership that refuses to endorse those methods that promote election and re-election by default. If they are joining the mudslinging fray, then the default vote is what they are relying on.
If this Gordian Knot is ever unraveled... then, we may expect hope for this country.