Wow, what a time to be alive, aware, and informed. I've said it in the past, but try to swallow your distaste and appreciate the historic times in which we are living. Books will be written for generations about this election cycle, from Trump's descent down the escalator in June 2015 to the closing bell at the ballot boxes next Tuesday. Observe with eyes wide open.
Regardless of the outcome, we’ll be sharing stories for decades about this election. Perhaps those stories will be an attempt to explain how a major political party was reluctantly forced to submit its nomination to a spray-tanned, bombastic reality-TV star with seemingly little political discipline and even less depth of knowledge about the position for which he ran. Or perhaps our future generations will wonder how the opposing political party, in collusion with nearly every major media outlet, contrived to nominate and, at the expense of their morality, to orchestrate the election of a deeply corrupt megalomaniac whose only apparent skill throughout her career has been accumulating power and wielding it to the benefit of herself and her cronies.
Megalomaniac: a condition or mental illness that causes people to think that they have great or unlimited power or importance. Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary.
Though I can take credit for neither, I've found these two separate thoughts interesting when analyzing this race:
1. You cannot make a compelling argument in favor of either candidate without making a compelling argument against the rival.
2. Trump represents everything that is wrong with our culture. Clinton represents everything that is wrong with our government.
How do I vote, you may wonder? When considering these two choices, my gut says neither. Perhaps the best choice the country is to elect nobody for President and leave the position vacant for the next four years. I'm inclined to believe the country and our collective psyche would be in a much better place.
I’ll end with a word of optimism and realism in the form of a civics lesson. As defined by the US Constitution, the Presidency was never intended to have the power or the focus to which we devote the position today. Indeed, the architects implemented checks and balances of power between the three branches of government to prevent any one branch from taking and keeping a disproportionate level of power. In the case of the Executive, it was to prevent any person or party from obtaining the type of unaccountable power everyone is terrified of giving to either of these deeply flawed candidates in this election.
Perhaps the current roster in Legislative branch is unable or unwilling to prevent such accumulation of power in the Executive, you may argue, or that the Jurists in the Judiciary are rarely the arbiters of non-partisan constitutionality, but serve more as rubber-stamps to their partisan agendas. You cannot, however, argue that the blame for the condition of our government and culture lies with anyone but ourselves.
"A Republic, Madam, if you can keep it," Ben Franklin is quoted as saying upon being asked whether the United States would be a Republic or a Monarchy. The difficult responsibility to sustain the freedom and privileges we enjoy as Americans for future generations falls squarely on us, else we fall to tyranny.
In summary, it’s four years. Neither candidate will start with the amount of political capital necessary to implement their agendas, especially if the rival party takes Congress. The 2020 campaign will begin immediately after this one ends, and you can feel confident that neither major party will put forth such a flawed candidate in the next cycle. Trump’s successes, to be sure, will need to be demonstrable and, forgive me, “YUGE!" in order for his political career to survive beyond 2020. Clinton, it seems, need only dodge an indictment or an impeachment from Congress.
So, knowing that whatever happens is temporary, let's spend the next few years evaluating where we are as a country, a culture, and a society. Let's move forward with grace, determination, and an open mind to recognize the failures that resulted in this election cycle. And let's agree that for a nation with promise and potential equal to its history, we deserve leaders which represent our best qualities, not our most base.
And remember, this too shall pass...