COMMENTARY: Four years ago I wrote, “The election this year has felt like going to the dentist and having the same tooth filled every day for a whole year.” It is even more so this time around. This election has brought out the worst in Americans rather than the best.
What is either forgotten or never learned by most Americans and the media is that the system of presidential election is designed to sustain the party bosses and no one else. The media is not telling the truth to the American public.
What is the truth? Our founding leaders did not trust average citizens to select the president, so we have rules allowing party bosses almost unlimited power to select who they want. Hilary Clinton will be the Democrat nominee regardless of the votes garnered by Bernie Sanders because of superdelegates.
Likewise, Republicans who think they have any control over the party bosses are mistaken.
I like Ted Cruz but realize that he and Donald Trump have little chance to win regardless of how I vote. The party bosses pull the levers at the convention. Occasionally the people’s choice wins — but not often.
Why did the founding leaders and the subsequent members of Congress make a system where the citizen on the street has little to say as to who will be running for president in the general election? They did not trust citizens to use good judgement. Hence, the Electoral College, where influence has been used to steal elections.
Remember, only a quarter of American colonists were for Revolution. A quarter of the colonists opposed them. And the remaining half of the colonists didn’t care either way. They were too busy with their teenagers and making a living to care or take part.
Today the same is true. Half of all Americans either are not registered to vote or do not vote. America votes more for Dancing With The Stars than for president. Perhaps our citizens are not fit to select the winner.
Several years ago on Election Day I was in a store. One person said that they voted for president. Another asked, “Who is running?” That was after millions were spent on ads and television was 24/7 about the election.
Four years ago I wrote, “We, the people, have concentrated on the personal trivia of candidates and the untrue about them. We have not had an authentic dialog about our country’s needs.”
Still true. Lately people have been talking about how to get young people to vote. That’s a population who can name every song from a rap artist but can’t tell you when the War of 1812 happened.
How do you get young people to vote? By selling them on their own interest. I am always surprised that young men will register for Selective Service without the awareness they’re in line for war if we need soldiers.
They look so surprised when I mention this to them and say, “Naw, can’t happen to me.” Well, of course it can happen. It has before and will again. I got a letter from President Nixon greeting me and sending me to an induction center on Dec. 28, 1972. As luck would have it President Truman died two days earlier and they did not take me into the Army because it was a National Day of Mourning for Truman. I spent two years in ROTC in college, for which I’m glad.
We should not spend our time trying to get young people, or for that matter anyone, registered and to the polls. We should spend our time getting these people to care. If they care, they will register and vote. Caring, not voting, makes the democracy.
What do I hope for this election? I hope people of character and integrity win, regardless of party affiliation. I hope the will of the people triumphs over voter fraud, regardless of who wins. I hope leaders tackle the war on terror, Social Security, taxes, health care and education with an understanding that political solutions only work for political problems. Never use political solutions for anything else.
Vote if you care. If you do not care, please stay home and watch the stars dance.
Michael Swickard is a former radio talk show host and has been a columnist for 30 years in a number of New Mexico newspapers. Swickard’s new novel, Hideaway Hills, is now available at Amazon.com.