It’s nearly Election Day and hopefully, blessed relief from all the noise, anger and bitterness that has characterized this presidential election season. To my knowledge, no party and no one can be held harmless in directing invective at their opponent. Every side has engaged in election tactics and behaviors that are genuinely disheartening to any rational person. I, for one, will be relieved to see this election in the history books no matter who winds up with the Presidency. I just want it to be over with at this point.
And shame on us as a nation for buying into this. Voting is supposed to be largely an intellectual exercise not a visceral one. We should be deciding the Presidency based on fact and logic not innuendo and hype. Yet this is what 2016 has come to. Hell, even rabid Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians fans in the midst of the 2016 World Series, one of the closest and most exciting in history, sounded almost Spockishly rational compared to the candidates and their surrogates. Since when are Americans more rational about the outcome of sporting events than the outcome of presidential politics? That’s bass ackwards.
Yet here we are.
I keep reminding myself that it’ll all be over soon but that’s not very comforting considering the slate of candidates with which we have been presented. Yes, as a nation, we screwed up by buying into the hype and the leaks and the sound bites, but the political parties also screwed up by giving us less than their best. If this is the best that they can offer up, I really do fear for the future of the United States and its Constitution.
My high school history instructor at Valley Forge Military Academy, one Air Force Colonel George Rickert, drilled into us that the collection of minds that created the Constitution of the United States was the single greatest collection of minds ever assembled and that even in the midst of the compromises that were necessary to create it, the product of their work would stand the test of time because of those great minds.
I agree. So much so that I and millions of other veterans have sworn to support and defend it. It’s the one thing that gives me hope not just for the outcome of this election but for its aftermath as well. Yes, we’ve been pissing in each others’ lunch boxes for nearly two years’ worth of run-up to this election, but in the end, the checks and balances created by that greatest collection of minds will keep things from imploding. The Constitution and its authors created a system of government which is highly resilient — resilient enough to handle whatever comes of this Nation and no matter who winds up in the White House in January.
On Tuesday, the Nation makes its choice. Perhaps reluctantly, but we will choose. And while we have failed as a Nation to uphold our responsibility to be a well informed electorate, while our political parties have failed to provide us with the best, brightest and truly inspirational leaders, and while our Fourth Estate has failed to act as an objective check on American politics, we will survive this. The United States of America will be just fine, thank you very much.
The road to excellence in politics is bumpy right now but the GPS was set in 1789 by people who really knew what they were doing. They had faith in the future of the Nation and I have faith in what they created.
I hope that their faith is us is warranted.