Elections: It’s our problem to fix

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Famed basketball coach Phil Jackson was notorious for not calling timeouts, especially when an opponent went on a run and brought out the worst in his teams. Players would look to him as if to ask if he wanted a timeout called and he’d just snicker. He figured the five guys on the court created the mess and it was up to them to figure out how to correct it. It’s time Americans fixed the mess they have created.

It’s easy to blame Washington DC, and to a lesser extent out state capitols, for our problems. No one is shocked anymore over how little gets accomplished, how many elected leaders are joined at the hip to big money, and how little hope we have in them fixing what ails this nation. Our elected leaders have become convenient excuses, people we can point a finger at for our low wages, unaffordable housing, and lack of real progress toward things like renewable energy. There’s just one thing wrong with this system and it is not the people who are running it, it is the voters who keep allowing it to continue.

Sure, big money finances Democrats and Republicans. They will buy access to any of the sleazeballs we think are elected to serve us. However, while those sleazeballs are well aware of how little regard we have for them, they also know, and bank on, how lazy the average voter is.

Need proof? How is it we are on the verge of choosing between the two most despicable candidates we have ever had to choose from and short of a few people here and there, there is no real rioting, demonstrating, or even a movement to draft a serious candidate who is a threat to Republican or Democrat rule? Gary Johnson can’t even crack 15 percent in the polls under these conditions. What will it take?

Now, before you claim to not be one of the ones who does not care, let me tell you, you don’t. Chances are, you now feel you are politically active because you have taken to Facebook and other forms of social media to post articles, memes, or your own points of view. That’s no different than the obnoxious jerk who you hated to see at a family gathering or party 25 years ago because all he wanted to do was spout off his political anger. He lacked the will to take to the streets every bit as much as you do.

Our nation was not built on a two party system. There is nothing that states we can only have two parties and they have to be the same two every election. Heck, Mexico went over 70 years under one party rule before they managed to elect an outside party. Political change does not happen after a night of viscous Facebook posting. It takes real sacrifice and real work, the kind that can cause you to lose your job, friends, and maybe even your life. Remember the Arab Spring?

Ah, but that is too much work and let’s face it, we have a pretty comfortable life in this country despite all the anger we see from special interest groups. Yes, we have too many poor people in this nation, but how many nations in the world don’t? How the poor in one nation views the poor in other nations offers some perspective. The poor in Haiti might the poor in Tahiti live a pretty good life. Try being poor in Mexico, India, or Brazil. I’ll take being poor in America first.

Protestors at the Democratic National Convention
Protestors at the Democratic National Convention

What drives voters crazy is they keep seeing the rich get richer while they go without. This is a legitimate argument, but if you think one party is more to blame than the other, again, you are wrong. The rich have been getting richer all my life and since I was born in 1958, we have only had Republicans and Democrats calling the shots.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insane and yet we keep electing the same people from the same two parties election after election. Look how little was accomplished when President Obama had a Democratic majority to work with in both houses. No compromise, no real accomplishments that united the nation, just a bunch of men and women playing a living board game knowing all they have to do is pretty much nothing that can be pinned on them come reelection time.

And guess what, they like it that way. They do not want any change and so they continue taking money from Wall Street and other big money because that is who they can serve and get wealthy from. It used to be a slam-dunk because politicians relied on TV ads for name recognition. However, now that we have this little thing called the internet, it is more feasible to see the likes of a Bernie Sanders rise up with a movement. However, it will take more than one person to lead a movement, otherwise, he or she is surprisingly assassinated.

Democratic National Convention protesters
Democratic National Convention protesters

If you are anything like me and you are really sick and tired of how little we get from Democrats and Republicans, you won’t vote for any of them this fall. NONE! I don’t care if the candidate is your spouse, you do not vote for the person who has sent all voters the message they are part of the problem and not part of the solution simply by joining one of the two existing problem parties.

In economics, they say competition is what is needed to provide consumers with low prices and quality products. The same is true in politics. The more competition out there, the more the average voter will get out of Washington DC. As it is now, there is little competition, which is why we have this mess. Now it is time for us to clean up the mess because after all, we created it — no matter what you may think.

Photos bt Douglas Christian