It is no great secret (at least to those who have known me for many years) that I have not been a staunch believer in this theory of government called democracy. There was a time, not so long ago, when a more impetuous and pretentious younger version of my self made free with very provocative negative opinions regarding the practicality and the coherence of the American experiment. I like to cherish the hope that such inflammatory rhetorical immoderation is behind me now, but one never can tell.
Although I am no longer an angry scoffer at the very concept of popular governance, I think it is very clear that any such system is a fragile thing, and that our current system is, if not deeply flawed, at the very least sorely compromised in the areas of integrity and accessibility. And whether anything like the will of the people is expressed in the election process is a point that is presently debatable in the extreme. The greatest barrier I see to the effective functioning of our democracy is the party system, and with it the emphasis not on representation but on winning. Until we can abolish the senseless and useless dichotomy between Democrat and Republican we will never have anything more than a choice between evils in this country, and I can’t believe that this is the best we can do. Before I die I want to be able to vote for a candidate for public office who truly represents the values and priorities that are most important to me, not just for a candidate who offends my sensibilities the least. All too often we are presented with no candidate we can vote for, only those we can vote against. The state of our nation and our world are I believe solid testimony to the efficacy of such a proceeding.
I am not a natural thinker; my mode is feeling, and to pretend otherwise, as I have done often over the years, is a futile exercise. I don’t have clear rational solutions for any of our nation’s problems, large or small. But I know that things are not right here, and that it will require a great groundswell of actively concerned citizens throughout all the strata of our society to effect the changes necessary to return this nation to the path of glory, to make this nation once again a place we can be proud to call home.
So start today. Go out and cast your ballot. Play your part in the game as it is currently played. And then, starting tomorrow, let each and every one of us take personal responsibility for the quality of our nation, and work together to make it a better place, a land where all can be truly free.