My Post-Election Rant Regarding Political Engagement

“Every nation gets the government it deserves.”
Joseph de Maistre , Correspondance diplomatique, 1811

We live in a democratic republic. People always respond to that by telling me that our government has morphed into something else, but whom do we “blame” for that? We live in a democratic republic.

I am among those who have voted for a “third-party” candidate for President. Neither time was in a close election, but both ended with the greater of two evils winning the election , in my opinion. If I only pay attention for as little time as possible every four years during a Presidential election cycle, I am as much a part of the problem as everyone else who says they don’t bother to vote because their vote doesn’t matter. They’re right. America was never intended to run from the top down.

America was founded as 13 independent states in a loose confederation. Within 10 years it was determined that we stood a better chance of surviving and flourishing as united states, but even then the framers of our Constitution were careful to cede only just enough power to the federal government as necessary to suit the purpose. Then we got careless – perhaps reckless.

The story of America is that we came with a vision, we built what we needed to build, and then we moved on leaving it to others to maintain what we’d built. The thing is that those others we leave to maintain our way of life, for the most part, have no skin in the game; for them, it’s business and business is all about profit.

How did we wind up having to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to become President of the United States? I’ve thought a lot about that question this year and concluded that it’s our own fault. We say that we love America, but we leave it to others to maintain America for us.

Some of us have become enamored of “reality television.” There’s little if any story line to keep track of, just hours of mindless entertainment to take our mind off our “troubles,” Voila! Donald Trump becomes the Republican candidate for President.

Some of us hold onto the illusion that professional politicians – unlike professionals in any other business in the world – serve each of us, and only us, equally without prejudice, and move up in government based solely upon their contributions to the well-being of their constituents. That’s how everyone except Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump become candidates for President.

Maintenance requires commitment and work. If I don’t maintain my car it won’t last 250,000 miles. Don’t get me started on my four divorces. If someone – anyone – tells me that they are committed to a career in public service and only want what’s best for me I’m going to ask questions; and I have learned that it is better to start asking those questions before their constituencies soar into the tens of thousands.

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