Current Events, Just musing

People should vote their conscience

cruz-trump-2016I’ve been known to “real-time” tweet during political events, like the State of the Union address or the primary debates for both the Republicans and the Democrats. Thousands of others do the same. It has become a means for political junkies to feel like they are making their voices heard. Social media is an amazing innovation. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer connected to the internet can become a news-talk station of one.

In the last few days, I’ve decided to spend less time commenting (in fact very few tweets each evening) and more time reading what others were saying. I started to experience that sinking feeling you get when you sense something is going wrong, but are powerless to stop it. There were some very good tweets, with thought-provoking analysis and insights, on both side of the aisle. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority seemed to be involved in a contest to see who could be fastest with a smarmy, wry tweet full of hyperbolic vitriol. Very few were listening and even fewer could maintain a civil discourse. There was no conversation taking place. Both sides were entrenched, having painted themselves into their respective corners with such a wide gulf between, that both sides felt they needed to fire intercontinental ballistic insults in an effort to score a hit.

It was all about finding a GIF or a screen grab and rapidly making a meme to share. It was about crafting venomous retorts, full of bile with a hint of acerbic wit.  Sometimes the insults were moronic; others sophomoric. Some were full of utter hatred. Across the spectrum, emotions were running high and, for the most part, were ruling the day. Logic and reason were lost in the deafening white noise of nonsensical protestations.

A very good friend of mine has repeatedly stated that both candidates are equally unqualified. A new hashtag has begun to run — #NeverHillaryandNeverTrump. In fact, I am hearing from more and more who will not vote at all. Those who are thinking of voting have said, beyond finding a third party candidate or a write-in, their conscience will not allow themselves to vote for the “lesser of two evils.”

First, let me try to get you to think about this for a moment. This coming election cycle has candidates across the board: local elections, state-wide races, congressional races and the presidency. Though the presidential race bring out the masses, it’s the local races that have an immediate impact on our day-to-day lives. No matter what, you must vote! Do not stay home because of only one line on the overall ballot.

Second, I want to address this notion of “the lesser of two evils.” I am so tired of this hyperbole. It is an overused and ridiculous cliche. But, let us go with that, since so many buy into this platitude, hook, line and sinker. Is not another way of saying one person is less evil than another, is to say that one person is better than the other? After all, what makes one person “less” evil than another? It’s because one person has a little more good in them than the other? If that is the case, why can’t we turn it around and say you have to pick the best of the two options before you?

We are so mired in the negative that we now spend all of our energy literally trying to find something wrong with everything! We are quick to complain, slow to praise. We go out of our way to post lines and lines of angst and frustration on social media and rarely take a moment to spread joy and happiness. If you doubt me, just go through your feeds right now and take a quick tally of the posts in the last few hours? Unless all of your friends are crazy-cat-ladies, it will be easy to show how social media has become the conduit for negativity. We look for “perfect” candidates and then spend our time and energy looking for any misstep, flaw, problem or difference of opinion they may hold and then publish those failings (in our minds) to the masses online.

Let’s take this one step further. Let’s pretend we have convinced ourselves that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are so terrible, that neither one deserves our support. Are they both equally terrible? Do their poisonous spheres reach equally wide? Do their evil tendrils fill the same number of cracks and crevices? Are their villainous dispositions equally capable of corrupting the exact same number of hearts and minds?

Alternatively, does Hillary Clinton surround herself with the same kinds of people with which Donald Trump surrounds himself? Has Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments mirrored, precisely, those of Donald Trump’s? Of course not. Despite what Leftists wish, we are all individuals and thus are all unique.

So, if we believe in the uniqueness inherent within each of us, it becomes clear that even if someone isn’t your preferred choice, you can pick the better of the two. It isn’t about some self-imposed morality. The choices laid before us were a result of millions of shared voices. Just like the world really is not out to get you (being you are 1 of billions), the world is not out to hold you responsible for the presidency. The only way that holds any truth is if you are the only one who votes. To think your one vote is tantamount to 30 pieces of silver is to suffer from extreme delusions of grandeur.

Donald Trump was not even in my top 10. I kept waiting, like so many, for him to wash out with his many missteps and stupid comments. But, people are angry with career politicians and the corruption of big government. People are tired of sending fresh voices to change the direction of our nation only to see the hammer of special interests and powerful insiders crush the good out of people. Americans, by and large, are tired of being lied to, with one empty promise after another spewing mindlessly from the lips of our elected leaders. For years we’ve heard the rising cry for an outsider — someone with no connection to Washington, D.C. And, when that guy comes forth, warts and all, he wins more primary votes of any Republican in the modern era. That same “fly-over” country that we all defend from the elitists in the northeast and the left coast are the same ones who wanted Trump.

You cannot in one breath, talk about the collective wisdom of the common man in middle America, and then in the next, wail about them being misguided and fooled into selecting the wrong candidate. You do not get to move the goal posts because you are disappointed with the way the game is going. And the worst move you can make is to self-righteously proclaim you are so superior to everyone else that you are going to take your ball and go home under the guise of now being morally superior, all while abdicating your personal responsibility to do your civic duty.

The primaries were a chance for everyone to get in the pit, slinging as much mud as we could at each other, battling it out until one survivor remained. That was the time to bite, kick, punch, scream and rally forces to do battle. The smoke has now cleared and though we all have our various collective wounds, the internal fight has to end — for the sake of our nation.

I mentioned above that it is impossible to see both candidates as the same. One is better than the other, if only in the influence they will have on our body politic for years to come. I do not believe there is anyone who thinks Hillary Clinton will submit Constitutional conservatives to the Supreme Court. She will do all she can to infringe further on the 2nd Amendment. She will continue to explode our national debt. She will continue to shrink our armed forces, ignore the problems inherent with illegal immigration and open borders, allow more and more unfettered refugees from Islamic held territories into our country, expose our national secrets, will lie uncontrollably and will be able to be bought by the highest bidder. We all know this. This is not conjecture. This is fact. This is her track record and there is no indication she would act differently as Commander in Chief.

Is it possible that Donald Trump would nominate liberal judges to the Supreme Court? Yes, but seems less certain based on the list of names he said he would consider. Would he work to infringe upon or repeal the 2nd Amendment? He has repeatedly said he wants to protect it and is proud of being endorsed by the NRA. Will he explode the debt? Perhaps. He has mentioned a number of programs and initiatives, but he’s also said he wants to bring business back to America by lowering the corporate tax rate to 15%, making it one of the best rates in the industrialized world instead of one of the worst. As a businessman, he wants to win, so why would this be different as the CEO of the US economy? Trump has declared a need to rebuild and strengthen the armed services because he wants to restore law and order, both domestically and in terms of national defense. We know he wants to close the open southern border and fix illegal immigration. Is he lying? He wants to stop the influx of refugees from known terrorist strongholds. Will he pretend he never said that? Will he expose our national secrets? Will he lie uncontrollably? Will be be able to be bought by the highest bidder? I do not believe it, but only time will tell.

One final thought if you are still part of the #NeverTrump crowd (and was the subject of a prior piece I wrote last month), Congress is the check and balance against the power of the Executive Branch. Many of the initiatives President Obama has been allowed to push through are not because it was allowed by the Constitution, but because the Congress chose to abdicate their own responsibilities in keeping his overreach in check. Given the two possibilities facing us, which candidate would make it easier for Congress to fight future overreach? Would fear of being labeled misogynistic continue to have the same paralytic effect as being labeled racist has had?

I’ve heard many say they must stay true to their conscience, which will not allow them to vote for Donald Trump. At first glance, I understand from where that is coming. I would like to look at this, but from a different angle. I would prefer to ask, is allowing someone with Hillary’s known record, over Donald’s unknown, to ascend to the presidency, an act of good conscience? Based on the facts we all know, I would argue that it is far more objectionable to let Hillary win. Trump might be a horrible alternative, but when compared to what we know, to elect not to pull the lever for him is the real unconscionable act.

3 thoughts on “People should vote their conscience”

    1. Thank you for listening. It’s an honor and a privilege to be asked to cover for a former presidential candidate and a national talk-show host. One day I may get to see what that’s like on a more regular basis. 🙂

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