I struggle with how to react when someone I know posts a comment that is clearly false or demonstrably mean in nature. None of us are the internet police. But, as the saying goes, the truth struggles to be heard while a lie is halfway around the world. The formal internet police–those gremlins hired by Facebook, Twitter, Politifact and others–have so demeaned or stretched credulity, it becomes difficult to assist truth in its constant struggle.
Have we become so hidebound to party labels that we turn a blind eye to faulty candidates? Have we embraced both incumbency and celebrity so tightly that we squeeze the air out of honest discourse, real policy analysis, and true examination of the philosophy of candidates?
We do all this as we complain about the erosion of civil society. We do all this as we watch increasingly large numbers looking to the government to be the answer to every need, the answer when we really don’t spend time considering the question.
There is no magic wand to fix this situation in which we wallow. I frequently hear questions about why there are no better candidates out there. I’m not sure what better might be, but I am certain there are better options in Georgia than Warnock or Walker. I am even more certain there are better candidates in Pennsylvania than Fetterman or Oz. We apparently go for name recognition over substance. We celebrate the well-known over those who have done well.
I’m lucky. For now, Florida’s top races are being contested by tested candidates. Our choices can be made based on philosophical differences. If you think the government is the answer to every problem, you have candidates that fit your needs. If you believe in the power of the individual as a part of a community who looks to the government for limited reasons; help in natural disasters, safety, security, the rule of law and the fair competition it allows, then you too have your choice.
We live in an era of confusion. We long for clarity, where clarity is a rare commodity. I think we even long for the heroes of our childhood. There was a time when heroes inspired us. Of course, they had flaws, but those were overlooked as we formed our own visions of who they were and why we admired them. Some were celebrities, some athletes, and some too were politicians. Who are our real heroes now?
We admired Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy. We admired John Wayne and Randolph Scott. As a kid, I idolized Mantle and Maris. Recent memes hold up Aaron Judge to this level of admiration, yet he has yet to rise to those previous levels of celebrity hero. As the old song lyric runs through my mind–“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?”–I hear Flip Wilson repeating, “Here comes the judge!”
Come November, we will maybe be able to judge the direction of our country. Will we signal a change or will we be satisfied to stumble along as a highly divided, filled with animus nation? Clearly, now both major parties have deep divisions, not just between each other but also within each party. In politics, the pendulum usually swings toward change. This time I’m not so sure. Wake me when November comes
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