The hashtag, #BetterPOTUSCandidates is a trend today on Twitter. The suggestions run from predictable mentions of Bernie Sanders and Gary Johnson to whimsical calls for fictional characters, including the slogan that Palpatine will Make the Galaxy Great Again. But the consensus is that anyone would be better than Clinton and Trump.
This comes as no surprise in a year when the two major party candidates are widely disliked. The unfavorability numbers are well known, but the best summation I’ve seen for how Americans feel about the Democratic and Republican nominees comes from Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska: “There are dumpster fires in my town more popular than these two ‘leaders.’” The tragedy of this election is that if one party had chosen a decent candidate against the other party’s bizarre pick, the acceptable candidate would have had the easiest campaign and electoral victory in a long time—perhaps since William McKinley relaxed his way into the White House in 1896.
But here we are in what I called an electoral tragedy. That word is deliberate. I could be challenged a bit on my usage, since a tragedy is a presentation of “a serious subject matter about human suffering and corresponding terrible events in a dignified manner, and nothing about this year is dignified, but there is a tragic hero in all of this, a character who is flying toward disaster due to a flaw in the hero’s personality.
Who is this tragic figure? The American people. We’ve done this to ourselves.
I don’t mean that each one of us is guilty. In fact, only fourteen percent of us are immediately responsible. That’s the number of eligible voters who voted for Clinton or Trump. Seventy-three million Americans who could have voted in the primaries chose not to exercise this essential right, based on 2012 results, and eighty-eight million don’t vote at all. To quote Neil Peart’s lyrics in “Free Will,” “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” And you often leave the choice who will make a bad one.
This is not to say that every person who can vote ought to do so. Just as owning and carrying firearms oblige a person to behave in a manner more competent and aware than are ordinarily expected these days, voting is something that is best done by people who are informed and thoughtful.
Unlike gun control advocates, I’m not calling for licensing or testing to exercise either right. My point here is that whether we’re in a comedy—a play in which the hero comes to a good end, in the classical definition—or a tragedy is not up to fate, not something that we can rail against, but ultimately cannot beat. The outcome is ours to decide, and it will be the government, the society, and the future that we deserve.
We’re about to endure four years of a bad presidency if either of the two major party candidates are elected. Escaping that would require a deus ex machina, a miracle from on high. But 2020 is not so far off, no matter how agonizingly long it will feel next year. And congressional and local elections are always soon to come. We no longer have the luxury of being ignorant—if we ever did—and we no longer can leave things to chance.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.