American politics were set ablaze this week, when new information regarding corruption within the Democratic National Committee came out involving the 2016 election. The former chair of the DNC, Donna Brazile, released information in her new book explaining that Hillary Clinton and her campaign had taken over control of the DNC as early as August 2015, thereby rigging the primary election in her favor. While this confirms what many had already believed – that Hillary was a deeply corrupt candidate – it begs the question of whether the days of free, democratic elections in the U.S. have become a thing of the past, and if so, should we even mourn its demise?
In the past, getting involved in the election process, being informed on candidates, and adamantly getting out to vote were considered part of your duties as an American citizen. Teenagers nearing voting age were told that they should be excited to have such a privilege because, “there’s many people out there who wish they were free to vote.” But, how true is that today? It seems that people have allowed themselves to become more polarized over politics while simultaneously being less informed on issues than ever. A poll from the American Psychological Association shows that for the first time, Americans consider the future of the nation to be more stressful than issues involving both money or work. The U.S. has become deeply divided over where one falls between the frivolous lines of red or blue, while we blind ourselves to the reality that those colors are one in the same.
Both sides are convinced they fight for freedom, whether it be fighting for freedom overseas or for free healthcare at home, yet this DNC scandal illuminates just how mute our political voices have truly become. We’ve allowed ourselves to be duped into thinking matters that never change – abortion, gun rights, etc. – are the “grassroots issues,” while questions like how much we borrow and spend, and how many countries we invade are left untouched on their one-way track, both sharing in the never-ending answer of “more.” Whether it be the 100,000 pages of regulations in the federal register or a domestic surveillance state cloaked in secrecy, there’s only one type of freedom the government fights for: the freedom to do what it wants without consequence.
This latest scandal highlights an important characteristic of Washington politics though, which is that people flock to where they know the political power lies. The 2016 election turnout was, by percentage, one of the lowest in a hundred years. And now that democrats are realizing Bernie Sanders would have most likely won the nomination over Hillary in a fair primary, due to his ability to get more young voters out than any democrat in recent history, they’re falling in line one-by-one behind the influence. People like Elizabeth Warren, who infamously told Donald Trump he was losing fair and square, has come out to say she now agrees that the primary was rigged. Ben Shapiro said it well in that, Bernie may have lost the battle, but he won the war. You could say that Brazile’s admission is also her own attempt to show loyalty and remain relevant in the coming years as the party shifts towards Bernie’s platform.
While a strong argument could be made for people to abandon their participation in the U.S. election process altogether, it is rather unlikely that you could achieve this in the near future. Instead, we should use this enlightenment to combat its corrupt members’ continuation – which sadly, is most of them. There’s a good chance that Bernie may win the nomination if he chooses to run in 2020, or at the very least, have a massive impact over who the nominee will be. But, let’s not allow our friends and family to be conned into falling once more into the all too predictable “this time will be different” trend. Let’s not forget, Bernie found out from Brazile that the primary was rigged before the election, on September 7th, yet continued to campaign for Hillary. Demonstrating at the very least his complacency with the corruption. If people are looking for a change in America’s current trajectory, chances are it won’t come out of Washington, but most of all, it will not come from an administration involving anyone tied up in this corruption of our election process.
One thing is certain though, if we hope to change the problems we face as a nation, the solutions will not arise from those who seek to manipulate us for their own gain. Rather, it will come from abandoning these emotional ploys of divisiveness, and instead focusing on the virtues we have in common as Americans.
Thomas J. Eckert
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