A national disappointment: Character over the issues

By: Nate Sikora — Staff Writer

Less than two weeks away from the ugliest election in modern history, I would like to reminisce prematurely on what this election focused on and it’s disappointing failure to address the concerns facing the American people.
Although this is the first presidential election I am voting in, 2008 and 2012 have yet to become foggy memories of unfolding of presidential campaigns. Ever since July when the parties chose their nominees, the American people have been let down by a lack of substance from both candidates. The 2016 presidential campaign is not and will not be seen as substantive and meaningful, but rather, as a character battle.

It has not been about deliberation over whether conservative or liberal policies should be adopted; it has been a debate between two of the most hated people in America. Have we talked about how to address climate change? What about policy initiatives to combat poverty and hunger? Have we discussed when we will rebuild our crumbling infrastructure? To all these questions, the answer has been an outright no.

The national debate has revolved around how much of a sexist bigot Donald Trump is or how corrupt and untrustworthy Hillary Clinton is. The election has become a character battle rather than a battle of ideas.

Our children will ask 20 or 30 years from now how we let this all happen. Why did the two candidates with both the lowest approval ratings in American history be our choices for the leader of the free world? We not only should answer this question, we are required to. My request to you is that you ponder this question and come up with at least some sort of answer.

Here is my response: the Democrats used extortion to crown their queen candidate while the Republicans went full throttle on fear mongering to nominate a 21st-century fascist. Consequently, I assert that this election will mark the beginning of the end of party-controlled politics and a more akin public to potential presidential nominees. Not again will an uncontrollable “outsider” like Trump slide through the system, nor will a corporatist neoliberal like Clinton become the Democratic nominee.

In essence, I see a return to normalcy by 2020. Man, wouldn’t a substantive debate by two visionary and civil candidates be awesome? (Bring back Obama and Romney please). The thing that has gotten under my skin so much lately is all the ridiculous reposted videos on Facebook of different biased news sources (that usually are not even news but propaganda pages) with heavily edited videos bashing their opposing candidate.

Many are extreme conspiracy theories – so much so that I think many people on Facebook wear tinfoil hats when they view any video. It is baffling to witness the intellectual rotting of the American electorate as many become victims of smear campaigns with no evidence. People nowadays take things at face value without questioning. This blind acceptance of whatever “good news” that supports a political ideology or affiliation has subsequently led to the extreme divisiveness of our country, and that alone is the true national disappointment of this election cycle. People are literally losing friends because of who one another is voting for.

Hopefully, once the dust settles and people come back to reality, we can have a civil and hospitable discussion on policy and the direction we want to take the country. Basically, let us instill a normality of sportsmanship in American politics, where what is best for the country is the highest priority, rather than partisan victories or character battles. We desperately need that.