Every 4 years, America celebrates it’s democracy or so we think, by having a Presidential election. When an incumbent President is about to leave office, the American people get to decide who will be the next person to hold what a lot of people believe is the most powerful and most difficult job in the world, President of the United States. In the last more than half a century, the President is referred to as the leader of the free world. With all of that pressure, who would want the job? But here we are, about to elect a new President in 2016. The election is bigger than the Super Bowl. So get your popcorn ready and put up your feet and enjoy the show. There will be plenty of commercials so get your channel changer ready.
Voters will place their hopes and dreams for a better future on their dream candidate thinking and hoping that one person, man or woman, can wave a magic wand and somehow change things for the better. It’s time to have some truth telling. One person can not do it alone. It is time to look within ourselves and have an honest self evaluation about how the system works and if we can in fact bring about change. Don’t forget change can be good or bad depending on a person’s perspective. Will it be the change you want? And do things really ever dramatically change the way our system currently works?
When President Obama was elected millions of people placed their faith in a man, who promised hope and change. For many voters placing so much hope on one person is unrealistic, especially when you realize the unbelievable hurdles that our system of checks and balances places on any President to change things overnight. You would think that voters expected Barack Obama to walk on water, but clearly those are unrealistic expectations. Of recent presidencies, his was in fact consequential, he has changed things, which along with the color of his skin helps to explain the anger of those who mostly did not vote for him.
Now for some truth telling! People have not changed really that much. There are basic needs that most people need to fulfill, food on the table, a roof over your head and a good job. In the recent past, citizens have gotten used to having and wanting things, consumerism runs rampant. For those who have, they want more and for those who are not making a livable wage, anger, depression and frustration are very real emotions. And if you are lacking in the basic necessities of life anger is a honest emotion. For the selfish and spoiled, they only care about themselves and the fact that they pay taxes is a source of angst, a source of anger and frustration thinking that it is all about themselves rather than the community. In growing numbers many of the disaffected and selfish are at war against their own government.
The demographics of a changing electorate gives hope to Democrats for the changes they seek. A countervailing force now apparent in the current election process is the negative effects of Citizens United. As reported by a recent New York Times article, a mere 158 families have paid out more than 50% of the campaign funds. These 158 families have paid a minimum of $250,000 into the first phase of this campaign in an attempt to alter the outcome to their satisfaction. 138 of the 158 families have given money to Republican candidates. They have spent 176 million dollars to help maintain the status quo. Another 200 families have paid a minimum of $100, 000 dollars a piece to help give them the results that they want. This is not democracy in any stretch of the imagination. Under the present circumstances it is a sad joke to believe that any real change real occur. Perhaps incremental change is possible but wholesale change is not possible unless there is a revolt by voters at the polls where more people show up and throw the bums out.
The bottom line is there are limits to the power to bring about change that a President has.
So come one and come all to the greatest show on earth our Presidential election. Buy your tickets here. On one side the current favorite of the month candidate is Donald Trump who promises to make America great, again. If you believe that things are as easy to change as he professes I have a bridge for you to buy. He is an outsider who has never held elective office but people are putting their faith and hopes into a person who has no idea how government works other than how to buy a politician. Yes, sports fans, he is like the great one Ali, he will just wave his wand and things will change. Give me a break! And how will this change happen because he will be tough and he is smart. How do you know this? He will just tell you that it is so. Unless he changes our government into a dictatorship his truth is only that he offers you a new reality show star. His show will get such high ratings, and we will all make sooooo much money. If you believe that he will make evertone who is smart enough wealthy his is your man. If you buy his bridge make sure, that Chris Christie doesn’t close it before you open your eyes to reality.
On the other side of the ledger, in her pants suit, is the future President of the United States, Hillary Clinton. She has the experience and the moxie. But even she will need the cooperation of Congress to bring about change.
Bernie Sanders is right, if we expect real change we will require a revolution of sorts, a revolution of the majority of Americans who actually register to vote and lend their voices to this election and the elections after that. It takes a village of commitment to bring about change. Do we have it within ourselves to bring about the fairness that we seek to where we no longer feel that the deck is stacked against us? Only time and the will or lack of our collective political will, will determine our future. Are our best days still ahead of us? Or our best days behind us? Are we going be stuck on our sofa only watching the game and watching the world pass us by, inactive stuck in mediocrity or be proactive and be part of the solution to our problems. It is your choice America, you can choose to be a fan of the game or a player in the greatest game of all American democracy, it is your choice. Choose wisely!