(Note: If you like what you read, please share this post with your Friends. If you don’t like what you read, share this post with your friends anyway, or with those idiots who support the other guy who you can’t STAND. Thanks….)
Well, we’re down to about two days until this, ah, “unusual” campaign season wraps up and votes are cast. I can’t say for a fact the races will be “over” because election night in November 2000 just popped into my head, where I left election coverage at the AM 1500 KSTP studios around 12:30pm thinking the Bush/Gore election was wrapped up, only to slip into my jammies, hop into bed and turn on the radio at around 2 am only to find out things were far from over.
Anyway, I have been very hesitant to get involved online in the vitriol for a number of reasons. It’s not that I don’t have opinions. I have many. However, I used to follow and discuss this stuff on talk radio for a living in one form or another for almost 20 years. While I tried my best to keep the conversation substantive and civil, it got quite ugly to one degree or another every time. After every election cycle I felt like I should open the Yellow Pages and find an exorcist to drive out all the demons.
All those elections, and talking to all those candidates, managers, party people etc., did give me a hard-earned education on the finer points of running negative campaigns. And if a race was the least bit contested, they ALWAYs turned negative to one degree or another. I wish I could say that education in some way makes following the current contests easier or more palatable…but I can’t. Knowing how the campaign blutwurst is made and distributed by today’s soulless campaign and media strategists doesn’t make it any easier to see it turn citizens in general, and friends and acquaintances in particular, so remarkably red-hot angry and at times hateful of one another. I feel uneasy saying this, but I find myself wondering which is worse for our society: The Blissful Ignorance of not participating in a democracy, or the Seething Anger of Participatory Ignorance amplified by the speed and ease of social media and on-demand nature of digital demagoguery? I also can’t shake the fear that the harshness of insty-commentary easily available on social media is going to leave a lot of open wounds where once solid friendships once resided.
I’ll add only this: While Hillary/Trump is on the top of the circus poster and playing in the big tent, the place where you and I can make the largest political difference and improve society is in our place on the block where we live. Effort spent on being the best parents, children and neighbors we can be will have more tangible impact on our quality of life than any of the bread and circuses promised by party sycophants (WHO, by the way, are the same schlocks which gave us all the “choice” between Hillary and Trump). And once you have those ducks in a row, expand to your neighborhood school (even if your kids have moved on), or volunteer efforts on activities which grow spirit and understanding of people different from you but which most of the people on those campaign signs and TV commercials have abandoned or stopped funding. Things like art, music, history and other humanities. Scouting is great, too, as is helping with your local cancer walk.
So yes, vote on Tuesday. I’m planning on it. But remember long after the “winners” and “losers” are reduced to fuel for Cable TV news, your influence and effort is needed down the street, on your block and down the hall. That’s how we “Make American Great Again”.