Election Resignation

Posted on November 29, 2016


I promised myself I would refrain from writing about the presidential elect. But, like all good resolutions, I failed.

I can’t resist making a few historical observations, on the premise that we often can see ourselves more clearly through the lens of the past. Or, put another way, we may think we have reached new lows, or new highs, in our political life, but they may have happened before. I don’t know if what I have to say will comfort you, but it may add a bit of perspective.

I am, by way of demurral, no political scientist, no political commentator, no pundit with new alarums to titillate or excite your imagination to draw you in to Trump’s latest grossness in the girl’s dressing rooms to Hillary’s hilarious spin on all her lies. You couldn’t invent this stuff and expect readers to believe it.

But I have seen, or heard, or read about this phenomenon before, and I don’t think we are heading for the precipice if either Hillary or the Donald gets elected.  Let me see if I can explain.

I have noted to friends recently that I will vote, but probably have to cut off the offending hand which cast the ballot. Maybe I’ll just wash it thoroughly in Clorox to get rid of the stink. But I will vote.

Let me suggest that if you don’t vote, you are simply abdicating your simplest responsibility that makes our representative democracy/republic work. Don’t go crying out loud to anyone that “the country is going to hell in a handbasket” if you don’t vote and your candidate, from president to dog catcher, doesn’t get elected.

Actually, I don’t know that we vote for dog catchers. Like many judges, I think dog catchers are appointed. But you know what I mean.

And don’t take the high and mighty road, “I am pure to my principles, honest, moral, and embrace and practice high ethics, and, snifffff, I can’t vote for either of these two, one a bore and the other liar, to name just a few of their sins.”

I have lived or worked in too many countries to know that what we have here is one heck of a lot better—more liberty, more freedom, more opportunities, more of just about everything good in life—than just about anyplace else I’ve lived.

In one of the earliest presidential elections in 1800, pitting two of the Founding Fathers, the paragons of intelligence, virtue, patience and prudence one supposes, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson snipped at each other with gusto. Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward. The insults aside, they proved to be pretty good presidents, Adams preceding Jefferson.

The level of discourse between candidates for President has not risen much higher over the last two centuries. Folks, we are not electing a Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury here, or even you brethren of the Protestant persuasion gathering together in a board of elders, or deacons to elect or call a new minister to the pulpit.

We are electing a person to run the country politically. If one is a womanizer, take a look at John F. Kennedy while he was President, 1961-1963. It’s hard to believe he had enough time to run the ship of state he was so often occupied with women, all the way to and including Marilyn Monroe.

And, as for telling whoppers, try a nice article online called “Are Trump and Clinton the Biggest Liars Ever to Run for President” by David Greenberg in Politico, a relatively non-partisan political newspaper. The subject is dramatized a bit for effect, but one would think a meeting of past presidents, both dead and alive, would be a gathering of the biggest liars in histories, each man challenging his peers for the biggest whopper. And a few probably couldn’t come since they had various “inappropriate” meetings on their agendas with someone other than their wives.

I am not saying, please, that the two now running in the final stretch for the presidency are anything other than what they are, honestly. They are what they are, a reflection of our values, both good, bad, and egregious. I thought I’d throw a George Will word in here just to see if you read this far.

If you want to improve the life of this country, I’m afraid it’s too late with respect to this election. Besides, the whole is improved by the strength, honor, integrity, and morality of the individual parts. We need to start in our own lives, examining ourselves and our community. But, for now, let’s pray that God has his hand over our country because I don’t have high hopes for what fortune has thrown before us in the polling booth.

Published as “Have We Sunk to a New Low? Not Really” in The Tuscaloosa News, Sunday Oct. 23, 2016.








Posted in: Politics