A Political Affair: How Appealing To the Lowest Common Denominator Screws Everyone
Have you ever dealt with a fight between two children? Do you remember how it goes? “Billy called me a name!” cries Timmy. What is the logical parental response? “That doesn’t make it okay to hit your brother Timmy.” We don’t tolerate this response for children, so why is it okay for the people who run the country?
I spent this morning at the DMV (which could be a story in and of itself, but you’ve probably been there as well) during which I opened my phone to check out some political news.
I happened across an interview with “progressive” candidate Genevieve Jones-Wright on Reddit’s IAMA forum.
Browsing through the forum, one question came across my screen. To sum it up, the user asked how the candidate justified her anti-mass incarceration views with the fact she wanted to create more gun laws that would make more law abiding people criminals.
It was an excellent question, one that the candidate apparently did not care to respond to.
Opening up my social media account I quickly sent a message to a relative highlighting my dismay at the fact the question was unanswered. This relative then replied with a laundry list of how hypocritical Republicans are.
These responses are pervasively typical in the political community and I believe they drag the requirements to lead our country to shockingly low levels. Not only that, but it seems to work as a magic way to get around having to think critically about candidates you like.
A good example of this is the media and their portraying of Stormy Daniels and Trumps supposed “sexcapades.”
Whether you feel one way or the other or don’t care, it provides an excellent example of the problem herein.
We hear the allegations against President Trump, fair point; the responding point is typically about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
Personally I could care less about either President’s sexual escapades but if you’re going to be mad about one of them then logically it should follow that you’re upset about both.
Why as a country are we not more stringent in our qualifications and why do we seek to justify stupid behavior with more stupid behavior? Perhaps we’ve become political sadists and masochists and we like this kind of self-inflicted punishment.
The 2016 presidential election can be described as a race to the bottom of the bucket. Never, in my memory, had either party put forth two candidates who were more unpopular and chock full of baggage.
Yet as the numbers dwindled and more candidates dropped out we were left with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as our prospective candidates.
When the polls opened, this author entered the booth and looked down at the names. It largely felt like I was sifting through bullshit from every candidate. After about ten minutes in the booth I thought to myself, “It doesn’t matter what piles I sort this crap into why am I sorting through crap in the first place”?
One option for raising the bar of qualified candidates is that the requirements to run need to be weakened.
In our current political climate the rules are not fair and are designed so that third parties ultimately fail and or do not get their air time.
Gary Johnson was probably the only candidate that I came across with little to no baggage (besides Weld). He had his Aleppo gaffe, then went on to explain his mistake in a fairly open and human way and that’s respectable.
Especially when looking through the mudslinging, the blow jobs, the pee tapes, and pizza conspiracy theorists, Gary Johnson stands out as a fairly normal character.
Yet you will still see Republicans and Democrats ignore their own baggage in favor of Aleppo memeing; it’s sadly ironic and indicative of our current political climate.
It’s time people regained common sense and the ability to critique their own candidates and leaders as critically as they do their rivals.
* Richard D. Sherley is an ex-Democrat turned Libertarian who works in law enforcement. He enjoys discussing politics, religion, history and playing devil’s advocate and, most of all, being a father.