It has become popular this year to criticize our two horribly deficient major party presidential candidates. I guess that sort of happens in every election, but in this year, the criticism seems to be particularly loud. On the one hand, we have a decrepit leftover with a disproven world view and the ethics of a payday lender. Her opponent is a raging narcissist and possible sociopath with a penchant for fabricating facts and awkwardly ogling his own daughter.
320 million people, and we came up with these two?
Equally popular this year is apportioning blame for the lack of quality in our final two contenders for the highest office in the land. At one point or another, I have seen pieces blaming any combination of the following:
I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones that come to me off the top of my head. It does, however, leave out the most culpable but seemingly least-often blamed group: people that vote.
That’s right, folks, I am turning the blame cannon squarely at you in a way that an elected official (who, obviously, needs your vote and therefore would never be such a bitch about it) never, ever will. You’re at fault. I’m at fault. We’re all at fault. Everything else is a sideshow: we did this to ourselves.
Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for exactly one reason: he got the most votes. Of all of the people who walked into a voting booth to render their preference during primary season, more of them chose that bramble-headed buffoon than any of the other candidates. The voters, in relatively overwhelming numbers, decided that he was the person in that field of candidates that they most wanted to serve as president. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee because the voters (of both the superdelegate and non-superdelegate variety) that decided to cast a ballot decided that, warts and all, she was the person that they most wanted to serve as president.
Stop blaming others and start owning your own culpability and the culpability of your friends and families. We got what we (collectively) wanted.
Frankly, this is not an isolated phenomenon. We have quite a habit of distributing blame for things that we, as Americans, shoulder responsibility. Why do we have a $19 trillion dollar Federal debt and barely-calculable unfunded obligations? Why has the Federal government spent more money than it received in every single year since 1957? Because that is what we voted for. The electoral message that has consistently thrived in both parties at every level of government since after WWII is “I will give you more and more government, and I am not going to make you pay for it. I will deliver to you benefits that we can all collectively decide will be paid for by your children and grandchildren.” (Oh, but Millennials are the lazy freeloaders, amirite?)
Our elected officials have given us massive new departments of Education, Energy and Homeland Security, an explosion of military spending, and expansion of Medicare and Social Security and growing subsidies for a variety of activities and products, all while cutting the overall tax burden across the breadth of taxpayers. We have rewarded that behavior by electing those who promised to do more of it, and re-electing those who prove to be particularly good at it.
Why do we have a health care system that can’t control the explosive growth of its cost? Republicans will tell you that it is government intervention and malpractice attorneys. Democrats will tell you that it is evil profit-driven insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Well, I have bad news for all of you…the problem with the American Health Care System is Americans. Aging, fat, sedentary, impatient and entitled Americans who want to be able to see any doctor they want at any time in a world-class hospital and be prescribed any designer drug they can think of for every minor ache, pain or inconvenience. And not only do we want “someone else” to pay for all of it, but outside of smoking, we even refuse to require payment for our own risky behaviors. Voters continue to respond to candidates who promise them that they can maintain revoltingly disgusting personal habits, receive world leading care and enjoy unfettered access, all on someone else’s dime.
The first step in any self-improvement initiative is to recognize one’s own culpability in whatever has gone wrong in their life. This applies to the collective as well, and it is time that we start taking responsibility for our own actions. Congress sucks because they do exactly what we want them to, and we want them to do really sucky things. Our presidential candidates suck because we suck at picking presidential candidates. You can talk until you’re blue in the face over the outsized influence of the alt-right or whichever of George Soros or the Koch Brothers represents your political enemies. But at some point, we have to own our own failings.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.