Since the big and somewhat embarrassing presidential debates over these past couple of weeks, I’ve been inundated with an email asking my impressions on this country’s current entertaining and yet entirely nauseating presidential race. It went something like this direct quote:
I’m torn. I don’t know who to vote for in this presidential election, and the debates aren’t helping. Your blog seems to have a lot of words. What do you say?
Well firstly, let me say thank you for seeking out such wise counsel in such a time as this. You obviously have no friends or family and nothing better to do and I am resultantly humbled. My answer to you is thus:
You have a very funny name. Are you related to Rip?
You are not alone in having a difficult time choosing whether to vote for a vulgar, egotistical, lying blowhard or a vulgar, egotistical, lying politician. I, too, have watched the debates—of course by ‘watch’ I mean I got through most of the opening statements before I involuntarily grabbed an ice pick and wrenched out my ear drums—and I have come to the conclusion that NBC should always broadcast a football game opposite them.
Normally I try to keep my political leanings at bay, but given that I have been asked directly along with the fact that my progenic offspring are finally of age to get a job and move out of the house and vote in their first presidential election and could use a bit of coaching, I will set aside my nagging hatred of self-exposure to expound upon my nagging hatred of politicians and provide for you and them this
The Last Annual conTIMplating 2016 Presidential Voting Guide
I can honestly tell you that in this particular presidential election I wish I had a cold because if my nose showed any sign of running I would vote for it. 320-something million Americans out there and we narrow it down to these two yahoos. It’s almost enough to get one to load up a U-Haul and start driving to New Zeeland. If either party had nominated anyone else—anyone, mind you—they would have won in a landslide. This includes either vice presidential candidate, any current or former governor or candidate for governor, Colin Powell, Condy Rice, Derek Jeter, Pee Wee Herman, my neighbor Mike, my Australian Shepherd, a car fender, a piece of toast with the face of Jesus burned into it, the number 6, etc., etc.
But alas, we are America and are a republic and have instead nominated those who most accurately represent who we are. And while I won’t tell you who to vote for, I will offer up a few presidential-picking principles to conTIMplate which, in the interest of prostate health awareness, I will refer to as PPs.
PP#1: The debates are stupid. The only people who watch the debates with any interest are those who have already chosen their candidates and root for them to get a good sound-bite or a stunning ‘Zinger’, which does little more than subject them to a potential lawsuit from the Hostess SnackCake Company. And when it’s over both sides crow about who ‘won’ the debate as if it were a high-school meet between two brace-faced pimple-poppers.
Call me old-fashioned, but shouldn’t these debates offer an opportunity to root out the issues and contrast competing visions? Instead, these televised arguments are about pretending to be likeable while supposedly answering such hard-hitting questions as “Will you be a president for ‘all’ the people?” or “Will you accept the outcome of the election?” or “If you could be any kind of butterfly, what would you be?” Presidential debates have become three rings of exclusionary and pointless He Said, She Said, I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I rhetoric. If you are someone who makes a presidential choice based upon a killer, rockin’ debate performance, you probably fall into the category of
PP#2: The electorate is stupid. I was reading the latest Rasmussen poll the other fortnight, and they were saying that up to 19 percent of the electorate is still ‘undecided’ regarding their presidential choice. Granted, this is an unusual year, but still…Who are these undecideds? What are you waiting for, people? Every election in my lifetime has been about the same thing: Socialism vs. Capitalism, Statism vs. Libertarianism. You either want more taxes and more government control and more ‘free’ stuff, or you want less taxes and less government control and to take care of yourself. If you don’t know where you and the candidates fall on these basic continuums then do us all a favor and stay home. It is not a requirement to vote.
And here’s another tip: You don’t vote for a candidate, you vote for a philosophy. If you are basing your vote on who said what to whom or whose feelings were hurt in the process or who slept with whom and who smiles more and who acts like this or is prettier than that, then you fit firmly into PP#2. We all have our character flaws and personality defects. There are bad people out there who nevertheless have good ideas and there are good people who have bad ideas. If your candidate’s character precludes you from voting for them then go to the next one that most closely matches your philosophy. Don’t immediately jump to the opposite end of the spectrum.
I don’t know why we Americans have become so brainwashed into thinking there are only two choices for president—okay, I do know why but I won’t expound upon our laziness or the establishment powerbase here—but there are at least five candidates in this election who cover the wide-ranging mainstream of political thought (plus a couple who only care about legalizing weed). Do your homework and choose the one who’s thought most aligns with your own. And don’t buy into the “a third-party vote is wasted” blather. Depending on your source, at least 60 percent of voters dislike both the Republican and Democrat because, as I heard one person say, one deserves a prison cell and the other deserves a padded one. If my math is correct, 60 percent is a majority. Imagine if we the people actually voted for what we believed instead of what the media convinced us to believe. Which brings me to
PP#3: The candidates are stupid. Here’s a news flash for you: Your favored candidate is not as great as you think. The world’s problems will not be solved if only we elect anybody. Here is a secondary but no less relevant news flash: The other candidate is not as bad as you think. The world will not end as we know it and nobody will be moving out of the country. So shut up and go back to posting your cat pictures. None of them are incompetents nor are they saviors. They are more or less just like the rest of us except they are a little bit angrier and they want to be president. And anybody who wants to be president is not qualified to be president.
So there you go, Torn. That’s the best I can offer you on a Tuesday evening between bites of $1 tacos. Feel free to offer your comments of praise below.
Now…you must choose. But choose wisely.