Slouching off to vote
The choice in November is more of the same or rattle the system
“We will choose either an untrustworthy, expert political insider or a brash and, to many, wholly offensive businessman who’s never been elected to anything. Both are undesirable as individuals. But it’s important to understand that a vote for the former is a vote for consistency. A vote for the latter, a cry for anything that’s not more of the same. It’s as simple as that.”
By Dennis Nealon
In 100 days, give or take, I will drive to the staid complex where I went to high school in my little town—more than a few years ago now. There, in an ancient gymnasium where my classmates and I learned to loath square dancing, dodge ball, and rope climbing, I will cast a vote for the 45th President of the United States.
But the choices that I will find on the ballot won’t just read “Hilary Rodham Clinton (D)” or “Donald Trump (R).” What I will see is, “More of the Same” and “Decidedly Not the Same.”
I won’t be complaining about having zero options when I get there, either. Because the choice in 2016 is not about these two nominees. Rather, each vote cast in this 57th presidential election will either be for supporting the status quo or insisting on change — any change at all that will, 1) give us a decisive government that aggressively attacks the country’s myriad crises domestically and abroad, and 2) generally upends the unholy, ineffectual political culture in Washington, D.C.
This election is about the character of our government, and that’s how we should think about voting on November 8. Each vote — and there were more than 22 million cast in the primaries this year — will say a lot: either “it’s all good,” or little of it is.
Forget the primaries. Ignore the name calling. Disregard the human props, balloons, videos, pop anthems and stagecraft served up by the RNC and DNC in Cleveland and Philadelphia this summer, and we’re left with the indisputable fact that our nation’s capital hasn’t been about “by the people and for the people” for a long. long time. No, the District is a nation state unto itself, owned and operated by life-long, professional politicians, lobbyists, greasy political action committees, and the special interest groups that have like gypsy moths devoured the historical spirit of our government.
This election will determine if these forces remain entrenched in Washington or, particularly in the event of a Republican win, have to pack up en masse and job hunt like millions of other Americans do all the time. We will choose either an untrustworthy, expert political insider or a brash and, to many, wholly offensive businessman who’s never been elected to anything. Both are undesirable as individuals. But it’s important to understand that a vote for the former is a vote for consistency. A vote for the latter, a cry for anything that’s not more of the same. It’s as simple as that.
None of the self-centered minions in D.C. is interested in change; they have it too good. While the parties and the nominees fight, the creature that is Washington rubs its hands together and keeps humming its own selfish tune. And what a song it is, if you’re in the club.
According to a 2015 report from the Center for Responsive Politics, our national politicians are rich and getting richer.
“It would take the combined wealth of more than 18 American households to equal the value of a single federal lawmaker’s household,” according to the CRP’s analysis of congressional wealth.
“The median net worth of a member of Congress was $1,029,505 in 2013 — a 2.5 percent increase from 2012 — compared with an average American household’s median net worth of $56,355. Once again, the majority of members of Congress are millionaires — 271 of the 533 members currently in office, or 50.8 percent.”
Hillary Clinton is one of them, a millionaire product of the culture in Washington. She is as fluent in D.C. as her running mate is in Spanish. This fact was the cornerstone of Bernie Sanders’ argument against her — the root of his derision toward the establishment and the refrain of his battle cry over the millions of dollars that Clinton made giving speeches for Wall Street audiences. It is what made him so popular among the more than 6.4 million Americans who called out Washington’s business-as-usual ethos and voted for Sanders.
Trump is a lot of things. Most of all he is a man who cannot hold his tongue; who lashes out, sometimes for good reason, against the largely hypocritical criticism aimed at him. He is crass, the embodiment of over-defensiveness. He says things that millions of others might also be saying, but only in the privacy of their own homes or during card games or teas or rounds of golf with their trusted friends.
He is also not really an “outsider” as he claims. He’s financed all manner of politicians in Washington on both sides of the aisle, throwing tens or thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars into the beltway. And he’s worked within the system for decades to build his own business empire. But he is not evil personified or the antichrist that the Democratic party machine and DNC would have us believe. The din against him, as the primary votes that he received prove, is being stoked not by the people as much as it is from the Washingtonians and devout liberals who think the country is pretty much alright the way it is.
Trump has never been elected to any public office. Like him or hate him, in the context of this Presidential election, he doesn’t just represent change. He is change. And his election, no matter how fearful some are of it, would at the very least disrupt and alter the cultural landscape in Washington, and maybe shake the lethargy and fecklessness out of our government, at least for a time.