The previous publication of CommonSense had nothing to do with common sense. This one has everything to do with it.
I’ve lived through twelve Presidents. As I do the math, that means I’ve witnessed roughly thirty candidates for the job, give or take. Some of them ran for a second term, and some of them ran more than once. Apparently it’s an important job. I’m not sure it is.
This is the worst choice of candidates I’ve ever witnessed. In fact, if I were voting for the worst possible people to be President, these would be the candidates I’d choose, and I’d still have a hard time deciding who is the worst.
If I choose not to vote in the Presidential section of the ballot, I’m wasting my vote. And my vote is something sacred to me. Now it says in the Bible somewhere (and I’m sure I’m paraphrasing) “Don’t give dogs what is sacred.” I like dogs, but I don’t want to try to sleep at night, knowing I helped put either of these people in office.
When choices are difficult, I try to rely on what I know. Not what I’ve read, or what somebody has told me, or anything second or third-hand. Only what I know for certain. Sometimes that helps.
What I know for certain is that none of the twelve Presidents I’ve lived through has affected me very much. They come, they make a lot of headlines, and they go. What has affected me—shaped my life—are the people I know. My family, my friends, the people in my town. I didn’t elect them. They simply come with the territory. They will be here before the election, and they’ll be here after. I’ll lose a few, and I’ll gain a few. As I think about it, I care an awful lot more about them than I do the President.
I’m a student of history. The last time this country was so divided was just prior to the Civil War. I don’t need to explain where that led us. Brother against brother, father against son. We ended up killing over a half million of us. They say that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.
This is not a good time. I’ll bet those of you reading this can feel it. It just doesn’t feel good. Maybe that’s because we’ve allowed ourselves to pit brother against brother and father against son again. That’s what these two candidates represent. If you squint your eyes and tilt your head a bit, you may see that these two candidates are us, or they are at the very least the result of how we’ve been behaving. It would almost feel good if someone slapped us and sent us to our rooms.
The two Presidents who have inspired me most were two very different people. When I was a very young man, John F. Kennedy explained who we were and why we were. He said, “We choose to go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Wow. It made us want to be part of it. I feel sorry for people today who missed that, because it was real leadership. Ronald Reagan gave us a vision of America as a “shining city on a hill.” We knew that all was not right, but we wanted it to be so, and with good leadership, that’s half the battle.
We desperately need a leader who will inspire us. A leader who will tell us what’s right with us, not what’s wrong. A leader who speaks carefully and respectfully. A leader we believe is not lying to us. If you can find any of that in our two choices, you’re more perceptive than I. I don’t believe that leader is there, at least not this time around.
So we’ll all go to the polls on November 8, and we will cast our pearls before the swine. We’ll vote however it seems we have to. I don’t need a Presidential candidate to tell me what’s important. My only wish is that we treat the people next door, in our own communities, and our family as the most important people in the world.
Sixty years of Presidents have taught me that they are.