Kalo Mina. May you have a good month. That’s what Greeks say to each other at the beginning of a new month.
This November 1st in the US, I dare not think what Americans are saying to one another, for we’re three days away from Tuesday, November 4, 2014, Election Day. On that day a host of local, state, and national elected offices are up for grabs (word used advisedly). At the national level it’s all 435 seats in the House of Representatives (representing 300+ million citizens, compared to Greece’s 300 Members of Parliament for 11 million citizens) plus approximately one-third of the 100-member Senate. This is called the mid-term elections, because it’s in the middle of President Obama’s final four-year term as POTUS.
What I wonder is, are elections actually upon us or are we sleepwalking through some existential detached stupor? I’m certain that for those running for office it’s definitely real, and undoubtedly anxiety inducing. There’s a lot at stake for the candidates. For example, getting elected to Congress likely sets one for life, assuming the candidate’s not already rich when he or she decides to run. There’s a 5P universal truth at work here: Political Power Portends Profitable Perks.
I’ve spent the last ten days in Arizona and Texas where there’s a ubiquitous white noise drumming away in the background, a cacophony of voices engaged in name calling and verbal finger pointing…much like an unsupervised kindergarten. For the life of me, though, I couldn’t tell you who’s the Republican and who’s the Democrat—no one seems to want to own up to being a member of either party—and if you ask me who to believe…fuggedaboudit. I’m sure it’s the same in the other 48 states.
Nothing is above politicizing. In Houston, the tragic death of a sheriff’s deputy in a head on collision with a just released meth addict drew barbs from a district attorney candidate at the current DA suggesting that the deputy died because the DA failed to put the addict away for a longer period of time. And Ebola draws hysterical reactions from all sides, as candidates demonstrate their decided lack of character by exploiting fear without regard to medical evidence or compassion. All that matters is whether it might help get them elected.
I frankly tune it all out, recognizing as I do, that undoubtedly I’m doing precisely what one or another candidate’s media consultant wants me to do: Turn from a voter who should care into one who no longer cares.
The candidates all come across as the same. From top to bottom. No matter who wins the government will likely do nothing for the next two years. Gridlock will continue, the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare will be attacked without regard to how much good it’s actually doing for so many, rhetoric will rage against ISIS and the horrid, rapidly deteriorating world situation while inaction reigns, and all issues facing our country will be subservient to whatever is thought expedient toward gaining or retaining control of The White House—except in so far as the prime directive of our political system is threatened: Above all else, do whatever it takes to make sure you’re elected again…and again…and again.
We are an electorate that doesn’t care or has given up hope, allowing those with vested interests at stake to prosper. But there is a dark side to a demoralized people, one shared with Greece: The death of hope creates fertile ground for demagoguery, and it’s taking root in both lands.
The question is, what are those who should care willing to do about it before it’s too late?
Such as vote on Tuesday for whomever you think best for the future of our country.