I wanted to stay away from politics until the election is over, but I need to write about this just to get my own thoughts clear on it.
In the second presidential debate a lot was made of Hillary Clinton stating that politicians, essentially, have to have two views on policy and issues: Their personal view and their public view.
Of course, this is being used as fodder by the right to show how she can’t be trusted. And she probably can’t. Nor can Trump, or any of them. That said, I believe what she said, though, should be viewed not as proof of her being a liar, but rather should be viewed as what we want all of our politicians to aspire to.
Let me lay out a scenario so I can hopefully have this line of thought make sense. Let’s say you are firmly vegan. Militantly. Even the sight of faux leather makes you ill. Let’s also say you are the head dietitian for a small school district. Your district, like most, is perpetually strapped for cash. You are new on the job and this is your first year wading through the different grant and funding sources for the school lunch program. You’ve created a super-healthy, vegan menu for the entire year. However, every funding source requires each meal served includes one veggie, one fruit, and one protein, as well as milk. The proteins noted as acceptable by most funders are generally animal proteins.
Your morals and beliefs about the horrors of eating any animal-derived product has you aghast. You have a perfectly balanced and healthy menu without exploiting the animals. But your district can only fund the lunch program for three month without outside funding.
What do you do? Do you stick to your personal views and try to scramble for alternate funding sources with the real risk that after three months you will no longer be able to provide any meals to the kids – healthy or otherwise? Or do you put your personal views aside in favor of securing the funding to ensure the good of the group?
Aren’t there times when we have to enact policies we don’t personally agree with but that are for the greater good?
Aren’t our elected officials our representatives – the manifestation of the public will? If that is the case, shouldn’t we expect they will indeed have a personal as well as public view on any number of topics? Shouldn’t we expect our elected officials will place aside their personal views in performing their duties as representatives of the public will?
Maybe that is my naive take on it, but when I vote for someone it is because they seem like the candidate most likely to do my will rather than their own.
That said, I want to make it 100% clear I am also extremely jaded. None of our federally elected officials seem to have anyone’s interests in mind other than their own. Democrat. Republican. It doesn’t matter. Government and governance has become a business, a way to get rich. When being a politician becomes a career rather than vocation can we expect anything other than what we have?
Now, let’s throw in another layer of falsity and turn the whole thing into some twisted reality TV show in which we are all participants.
Or, have things always been this way and it is just now easier to see? I seem to remember reading in history books about the vicious and corrupt political machinations of the late 1800s? Or maybe not? What about the old voter fraud schemes where parties would pay men to grow beards and then vote multiple times, trimming and shaving between casting ballots?
Is our world really different than it was 100 years ago or are we just instantly aware of everything? Yes, we know the voting system is not perfect. I wouldn’t classify it as rigged, but the voters are certainly manipulated. And on both sides of the aisle. That’s seemingly the point of the campaign trail – to either confuse the voters to the point they don’t know what to do or manipulate them through fear or greed or vanity into voting for candidate A or candidate B.
It hurts my head. Yet, I can’t stay away from the media and their screaming proclamations. It’s like an addiction. It hurts me, but yet I come back time and time again.
When will it be over? Election day is just the beginning. As soon as the election is over the next cycle of campaigning will begin again. Fundraising and promise-making.
I don’t know, man. I can’t predict, or don’t want to predict what’ll happen in the next 30 days in this country. Nope. I’m just going to take my bike out, go for a ride in the woods – probably after dark – and try to forget there are any other people on this planet besides me. At least for the few hours I am out there playing bikes, that is.