When Will the End Be In Sight?
Is the end finally in sight? Aren’t you tired of politics dominating our lives. We are approaching the finish line of the 2018 election marathon, with the winners still to be determined. Though the results are enormously important, a new election marathon that will finish in 2020 starts immediately after the 2018 race is over. It has reached a point where the competition and electioneering never stops. Is it any wonder that the voting turnout is consistently low? How do you keep citizens’ interest in politics at a constant pitch with warnings of Armageddon if this candidate wins and a nasty depression if his or her opponent triumphs. It’s too much for most Americans to take seriously and keep abreast of what’s happening in Washington and the state capitals. And what will happen if so and so is elected to office.
Our election system would be so much better if the campaigns for office did not start until six months before Election Day, consolidating the political process. Voters would be able to pay much more attention to the candidates and their policies than with our current non-stop campaigns. If other democracies can do it, why can’t we? Of course, that would be a problem for our cable networks that try and get viewers addicted to politics and continuously stir up the political pot. They build the tension that captures viewers’ brains. And the newspapers and other media outlets are compliant in keeping the focus on the future elections.
Of course, the political parties are also guilty, demonizing their opponents with tales of the disasters that await the country if these other people are elected. It is all a ploy to pull in more money from party supporters and those who believe the stories told. To save America from the bad guys, the parties must be strong, each party needing the other as a realistic enemy. But enough citizens accept the tales of disaster to contribute money and watch the political cable networks, replacing Survivor and the game shows.
But the politicizing of our lives is not good for America. Tribalism is increased along with the antagonism between groups, making it more difficult for the parties to compromise and govern effectively. Even if a policy is good, you don’t want to support the other guys who will get credit for it. Politics 24/7 also makes it more difficult to bring people together, denigrating our common heritage and principles. The question is how do we change the pattern when so many people and organizations have an interest in keeping politics at the forefront of our lives, day in and day out. They are content with the continuous electioneering, campaigning, and politicizing the world. Democracy needs a savior, a middle-of-the-roader, who will deemphasize politics, compromise on issues, and have Americans work together for our common good. But where will such a person be found and how will he or she ever get elected?