Presidential elections bring out the worst in us, even apolitical ones like myself. They give us pause to reflectó unfortunately all the pools are sullied and all the mirrors cracked. The lovers of politics are in their element: no landslide this year but always a mudslide, and they love to get us all dirty. Most voters just give lip service to what they call their duty as American citizens, whatever that means. They are the Sunday Christians of the polical church, voted dutifully on November 7th and November 8th brought them a sense of relief and four more years to carp.
But this time something new is emerging. It has been coming on slowly, but the signs have been there. Most important is the reduction in voter turnout. Even the word "turnout" is significant here. It makes elections out to be popular events, like concerts, parades, and picnics, the success of which is geared by the satisfaction of the authorities holding it rather than the substance gained from it. When it comes to elections, the people are finally realising that there is almost no substance here.
One of the many reasons I hated team sports as a child is that it was just an institutionalised channeling of bullies. The ones who, whatever their athletic talent, thought they were the team and had to let everyone else know it. I just couldn't stomach their self-deception-- that this game mattered and that they mattered to it. Those bullies grew up to be our politicians, full of the same arrogance and lies, but the games they play are no less silly than flag football in junior high. On whatever level of understanding, the American people have started to grow up and go home, leaving the bullies to shout louder and louder to fewer and fewer players about their own importance. Trying to convince themselves. Trying to fill the void.
Another old memory, a decal from my best friend's notebook in third grade: "What if they decided to have a war and nobody showed up?" (Am I dating myself?). I propose one legal reform that would bring the present political system to its knees. No election should be won and no measure should be passed without at least 50% approval by vote of all American citizens. Not registered voters, not voter turnout, certainly not the Electoral College, Congress, President, and Supreme Court. Who would be elected then? What laws would we have to worry about? Abstentions often make or break decisions, but our present system doesn't allow me to cast one. All I can do is grow up and go home and let the bullies play with themselves on an empty field.
And so it goes...