In light of the increasingly violent nature of our politics it is extraordinarily difficult to hold one's emotions, passions, and natural inclination to strike out in check. The bullying and intimidation that has become all too prevalent as this election season draws to a conclusion dramatizes the ugly side of human nature. To those who incite, encourage, or simply turn a blind eye to what is happening in their names or campaigns you exemplify the very worst of what you purport to support, namely freedom.
What we are witnessing today is the hypocrisy of democracy. Fear is the favored tactics of those who feel inferior, intellectually, physically, morally. You simply cannot embrace freedom and operate under a cloud of secrecy. Yes the country is facing daunting challenges and yes there may be differences of opinion as to how to address those challenges. There certainly are different ideologies, philosophies, styles, and ideas about how to confront the large issues hammering America and Americans. Bring them to the table and argue, discuss, dissect, and resolve those differences. That is the democratic system.
What should be unacceptable to the populace, however, is an unwillingness to offer up solutions. What is unconscionable, though, is to offer up gridlock and stagnation in protest of a system that is based on compromise. To do so is to question the very essence of democracy itself. Yet I hear no candidate running against democracy, in fact just the opposite I hear these self-proclaimed patriots clinging to the constitution in their hopes of convincing a majority of voters that they are worthy of making decisions that have far-reaching consequences for all of us.
Where are the problem-solvers? Who among this crop of dissidents has put forth a comprehensive program for actually tackling the serious issues before us? Maybe this is symptomatic of an electorate so disenchanted, disillusioned, disappointed, and disheartened by what they see as dysfunctional government that we are proverbially getting what we ask for? Still, to save a democracy by employing undemocratic means is the height of cynicism.
Democracy is messy. Surely there are governmental systems that function far more effectively and efficiently than our own, but at what cost to civil liberties? The true genius of our system is that it actually is self-correcting, but it is dependent upon the quality and caliber of the individuals and the depth of their commitment to make difficult decisions. Merely railing against the system or decrying the state of conditions may be an important step to our recovery, but it is just that, a step, it is not the solution.
Solutions in a democracy require skillful negotiation, intellectual awareness, keen instincts, and a willingness to devote considerable study of the complex issues. And in the end, like it or not, it requires compromise. That is just the way it is. That is the price we pay for this democratic experiment that we hold so dear. Yet we now stand poised to turn a blind eye to the fact that many candidates either refuse to offer or simply have not even considered how they will function after the election is over and the hard part begins: namely, the art of governance.
And sadly, I fear that a majority of citizens are willing to gamble on their fears and frustrations and let the emotionalism of the moment dictate a solution that will neither solve the problem nor strengthen the system. At this point I am afraid that essentially the die is cast and we will deal with the cards we have been dealt. However, we must never cease our efforts to attempt to persuade those citizens to search deep into their souls and reexamine their options. While it is late, it is not too late. So I offer up a plea to those who have not yet made up their minds to carefully consider what happens in the aftermath of the anger bender we are about to go on. To those who have been on a bender of any sort the sad reality is that the head-pounding hangover does not justify the means of attaining it.
It is time for America to "man-up" and face the hard choices in front of us, temper your anger, readjust your sights, and act in your own best interest. And it is certainly in your own best interest not to wake up Wednesday morning with a hangover that may stay with you for several years.
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