In deciding on content for this last daily Down The Stretch post before Election Day, my thoughts go to “bottom line” thinking. The byline on the Home Page of this web site is “Currently dedicated to identifying and understanding the current paradigm, and the new paradigm that is rapidly developing, in the USA [and as applicable, in the World]. Future plans: monitor development of the new paradigm and identify signs of future paradigm shifts“. I am convinced that a major paradigm shift is underway in this country, and I honestly believe this election is, at a minimum, a major “cog” in the “wheel” of that shift. On the pages of the site, and in the blog posts I’ve made to it over the past couple of months, I have attempted to express an “orbiting the planet” perspective on this highly unusual campaign — a bigger-picture view than the “can’t see the forest for the trees” perspective so prevalent in the media. [Christian readers, please see an important note below* about perspective.]
Practically all we’ve heard in three debates between two very poor choices before us, in billions of dollars in media ads produced by their campaigns and “Super PACs”, and in non-stop media coverage focused almost entirely on these things, is “he said, she said” arguments about scandal, derogatory remarks, etc., always capped off with “this man/woman is unfit to be President” [this “capping off” phrase probably being the only truth in all of that]. Almost everybody I know just wants this entire disaster to be over.
So when I get to “bottom line” thinking, my mind migrates toward the things that actually seem to matter from an “orbiting the planet” perspective. The very first thing that came to mind this morning was prompted by an interview-style article on “Politics and Christianity” in my local newspaper in which a panelist said “We are not responsible for the candidates that have been given to us“. Wrong! On the Our Founders page in the America’s Heritage section of this site appear some very wise words from President Andrew Garfield: “The people are responsible for the character of their [leaders]. If [they] be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If [they] be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities [in their leaders]”. So in the words of Pogo [Walt Kelly], “We have met the enemy, and he is us”. The candidates have not “been given to us” as the above-mentioned panelist claims. From a long-term perspective, we produced this dilemma and have nobody to blame for it but ourselves.
The next “bottom-line” thought I would offer is that the current system is what it is, and regardless of what we may think we may be doing through a “making a statement” vote for anybody other than the narcissistic bully or the poster child of corrupt politics — or by not voting — all we’d be doing is shooting ourselves in the foot. There are clearly some flaws in our current system that need to be fixed, and some “statements” definitely need to be made about them — and how we vote is one of the ways we can “make a statement”. My “bottom line” thought, however, is that this is not the time to do that. To use military terminology, “hills to die on” must be picked wisely, and with what is at stake in this election, voting in a way that makes us “feel good” could very likely result in our “dying” on a hill where our “death” isn’t significant from the perspective of the overall “war”.
The third and final “bottom line” thought I’d offer going into Election Day is something that has been an underlying theme in many of my posts to this blog — it’s not about the candidates and their equally disgusting profiles; it’s about the platforms of the parties they represent. The choice we have before us is between two diametrically opposed ideologies, and those ideologies are clearly evident in the Republican and Democrat party platforms [Republican Party Platform; Democrat Party Platform]. In one of my blogs I provided this comparison of the two party platforms on ten key issues: Party Philosophy Comparison. Another comparison I offered in one of my posts was this comparison of “baggage” each candidate carries, weeding out media hype and just boiling it down to known facts [this clearly shows that both of these candidates are more or less “tied” when considering their indiscretions and flaws]: Clinton-Trump Comparison.
So the real “bottom line” is this: every voter needs to 1) vote [i.e., not refrain from voting at all], 2) understand that under the current system, a vote for anyone other than Trump or Clinton is essentially a vote for one of them anyway, and 3) understand that a vote for what they consider to be the “lesser of two evils” if that vote is for the party least aligned with their own worldview and value system, may actually be a vote for the candidate of the other party anyway [because in this election, historical trends like which major-party candidate generally benefits from “alternative candidates” who draw votes away from those two is impossible to predict — not even the “best of the experts” can accurately project those dynamics in this election].
Charles M. Jones
* Christian readers …
I realize that an even higher-level perspective than the “orbiting the planet” view I try to present is the Biblical worldview perspective [with which I personally identify], in which all things here are transitory, and the ultimate end is known as revealed by God in His Word. From that perspective, movement along God’s path to ultimate fulfillment of His plan will be neither accelerated nor retarded by this election. My goal at this point is to present concepts in terms that people of any religion or no religion can relate to, so I try to refrain from routine use of terminology that may turn some readers away because it sounds “churchy”.