Like countless elections before, almost everywhere you go and everywhere you look at the moment, the race to become the world's most powerful man is the main topic of conversation. The back and forth, tit-for-tat squabbling taking place on social media sites, on TV, and, in print, is the equivalent of a 24/7, non-stop, political rave. Which, ultimately, will have about as much effect as singing the Tomato/To-mah-to song a thousand times a day for six months straight. But, hey, they gotta sell ad time, don't they?
As we rail against each other at the water cooler every chance we get, what we're failing to realize is, we're directing our anger at each other, instead of at the ones in Congress who really deserve it. And, that's exactly what they want. After all, "A house divided cannot rise against."
No matter which candidate you feel is best-suited for the job, the real problem is not whether a Democrat or a Republican will win the election; the real problem is, in a country of over 300 million people, with 300 million different opinions, when it comes to the presidency, the most important position in our union, we're basically given two choices:
A or B. Left or right.
No grey areas, no in-betweens.
Being the most diverse country on the planet, isn't it a bit ironic we have the most straight-forward, streamlined selection process for Commander-in-Chief? Heck, even a Chinese menu has three columns. (Please don't think for a minute that the Ralph Nader's of the world ever stand a chance. At least, not in this lifetime.)
Granted, in the weeks and months prior to an election, one side offers up at least a half-dozen Great White Hopes, who they claim are their "best and brightest," to fight it out for the nomination. Unfortunately, the nod rarely goes to the one most qualified for the job. Instead, the individual who secures his party's backing is the one who's usually best at either keeping his secrets secret longer than the rest, or simply good at letting the others make fools of themselves, until he's the only one left standing. So, there's your "diversity."
I'm not saying that allowing four candidates to compete equally would make the choice any easier -- odds are there'd just be four buffoons to choose from, instead of two -- but, at least it would double the options we have now.
Speaking of "options," isn't it amazing that, at a time in our history when we're presented with so many different ones -- "Which one of our 100 sauces would you like on your burger?" "What's it gonna be? The Droid, the Evo, or the iPhone? "even "Paper, plastic, or environmentally friendly hemp?" -- when it comes to the most important choice of all, we're still left with the same options we had 200 years ago, when people thought mercury poisoning was the cure for syphilis.
Will we ever see a time when, come November, there are three, or, God help us, even four candidates neck and neck in the electoral vote? Probably not, as, no matter how much they hate the other, both the Republicans and Democrats can most likely agree on one thing: defeating one opponent is a heck of a lot easier than defeating three, because it's a lot easier to shoot at a single, stationary target, than at several moving ones.
Of course, I'm not talking about adding a few more, self-made millionaires who throw their hat in the ring in January because they like to hear themselves talk, and, by July, are as much of an afterthought as the first guy in line at an open call for a part in a De Niro film. I'm talking about the system, e.g., the media, giving equal air time to multiple candidates, even if they don't have the backing of Halliburton and BP. I'm talking about candidates who aren't millionaires -- who, bite your tongue, may even live paycheck to paycheck -- taking part in the process. And, no, I'm not talking about shouting from a megaphone while standing on a box in Times Square. But, sadly, that's probably where the most sane candidates reside these days.
However, as usual, the joke appears to be on us again. Because, at a time when we're seeing more reasons than ever which offer up concrete proof as to why money needs to leave the electoral process, in a few short years, Citizens United will make the this election look like the good 'ole days.
"Who you voting for? Chevron or Exxon?"