Through the Storm

Airs of moral superiority are swirling around this election day with tornadic ferocity. The intensity of these winds is due to the populist but hypocritical hot air emanating from the mouths of the two major-party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and many of their most fanatical, myopic supporters. Whichever direction the vote goes today, these winds are very likely to increase in ferocity and further batter this country in the months ahead.

Weathering this storm depends on you. It requires that you be of independent mind and keep pressure on politicians of all sides and not be a simple loyalist. It requires that you take your blinders off, look at your neighbors face-to-face, drop the hypocritical stances, and start talking about issues honestly without partisan labels or baggage. Only then can the heated winds of rhetoric calm. We then will be able to see clearly that there is a much wider and richer America out there, an America beyond the two-party duopoly manipulating our political process, an America beyond the team-sports mentality dividing us against one another, an America where people agree much more on major issues than the vested political interests want us to believe, an America that is ready to accomplish amazing things by not allowing politics to dominate every aspect of our lives. We will be awed with the spirit of cooperation and accomplishment that will sweep the nation.

But…, I say again, that depends on you. Approximately 90% of the likely voters in this election, if recent polls are to be believed, will cast their ballots for one or the other of the two major-party candidates. Those voters have so bought into the two-party system that even though those voters say and know that the system is not offering them the options that they want, those same voters feel compelled to continue voting for one or the other major-party candidate despite there being several other options available. Thus, voters will do as they have repeatedly done in almost every election for decades. If you are, indeed, among the roughly 90% of voters casting a ballot for a Republican or Democrat in Tuesday’s presidential election, the perpetuation of our current political environment is your fault. The system certainly depends on you, and I predict, sadly, that you will not let it down.

I know, I know, you HAVE to vote for your preferred candidate because the other major-party candidate is ssssooooo horrible. I get the sentiment, really, I do. The problem is that both of these people are horrible candidates. They are both horrible for our government, horrible for our nation overall, and they are simply horrible people. Their words and actions have proven this to be true.

If you do not realize this, then you are still in the denial stage of your mourning for your favorite political team. As the two parties continue to collapse under the weight of their failings, you will progress through the stages. It will be painful, but you’ll get through.

So, how and when can we expect to make it through this storm? We will make it through only when we use our collective pressure to force the politicians to be the public servants that they claim to be. It would be wonderful if the politicians then rose to meet this challenge. However, by far the most likely scenario is that our favored parties will only complete their failures. At that point, we will realize that they offer nothing of worth. The parties will collapse without our support, and the winds of heated rhetoric will cease. We then will have the opportunity to drop our own party labels and drop the partisan labels with which we view others. As others, in turn, do the same, animosities can be dropped over differences that do not really exist, and new political coalitions can begin forming to get past those minor differences that do exist to achieve more for the American people than has been accomplished in decades.

A great American middle will arise to check the extremists to our left and right. The great American middle believes in personal responsibility but also compassion for those that fall through the cracks. It recognizes that Constitutional protections enable the rule of law to shield us from the political biases and personal grudges of government officials. It understands that fossil fuels will not last forever, that access to many of those fuels forcees American involvement in unstable areas of the world, and that those fuels have polluting impacts on the environment. Yet, it also knows that reliable access to electricity is critical for our modern lives, that “green” energy options are most often not as environmentally sustainable as their sales pitches suggest, and that climate is more complicated than the simplistic warnings issued by global warming alarmists. The great American middle does not care whom you marry just as long as you don’t force them to participate in your ceremony. The great American middle recognizes that it is not scientifically credible to assert that a just-fertilized human egg is a human being, but it also recognizes that it is equally unscientific to deny the humanity of a baby just because it has not yet left the womb. The great American middle understands that the right to bear arms enables Americans to protect themselves both from routine dangers and from encroachments of a tyrannical government. The great American middle supports limiting the terms of members of Congress and forcing those Congressional representatives to pass a balanced budget. The great American middle demands that parents have total freedom to send their kids to schools of their choosing. It demands the opening up of medical markets so that patients have a wide selection of medical care and associated insurance best suited to meet their needs. As each accomplishment is made by a rational middle, the extremists become increasingly impotent.

Achieving anything on these and many other important issues will require earnest conversations and, possibly, some grand compromises. However, in a political environment in which failed political parties have lost much of their influence, overcoming the points that divide us can be so much easier. So, I say, let’s get on with it. Hang onto your hats and increase the pressure on our politicians to serve us and not themselves. If we do it together, the facades of partisanship separating us from one another can fall, and we then can truly be amazed by what we can accomplish together.