With just a week to go before American voters go into the voting booth to scratch their heads and try to make an informed choice among flawed candidates, the campaign from hell is running head-on into the storm from hell.
If anything, the “Frankenstorm” provides the perfect backdrop to a campaign filled with the howling winds of bloated, empty rhetoric — a season where truth is washed away by a storm surge of propaganda-controlled hyperbole and drenched with the controlling rainfall of special-interest cash.
At no point in recent history have Americans faced more dismal choices in the voting booth: A failed incumbent President who ran four years ago as an agent of change and who now represents the status quo of government run amok and a new, self-professed agent of change — if one can believe a hedge-fund multimillionaire can change anything that affects ordinary folks.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama don’t have any answers but we gotta pick one of them. Same for the lackluster choices for the House and Senate.
The battle for Congress is just as depressing: Two sets of cookie-cutter candidates controlled by polarizing political parties who long-ago abandoned any pretense of putting aside petty differences and working together for a common goal of solving America’s many problems.
So, cynics wonder, why vote?
Because you must, dummy.
We may have to look at that screen, control our impulse to spew the semi-digested remains of breakfast all over that fancy electronic voting machine, and make a choice that pains us but it is our duty in a Democratic Republic to help make that choice.
Then, on November 7, we start looking for ways to change the system so that the next time we walk up to the voting booth we have a real choice that doesn’t involve regurgitation.
How? That’s a good question. As a career newspaperman who took a sabbatical at one point and entered the dark side of politics, I’m not sure. The folks who help put Capitol Hill Blue together day in and day out aren’t sure. Hell folks, we do this for a living and we aren’t any closer to the answers than the couch potato who lets the propaganda artists on Fox News, MSNBC or whatever wash over him or her with mind-numbing monotony.
Along with outsourcing our manufacturing and innovation overseas, it sometimes seems like we also shipped our ability to think and reason over the pond as well. This campaign season — more than any one in recent memory — produced no leaders, no real thinkers, not one candidate worthy of serving the people in the halls of Congress or at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
So we’re got to go back to basics, back to square one, back to our roots and find leaders worthy of support. Those leaders will not come from false “grassroots” operations like The Tea Party, which is a front for billionaire right-wingers hell-bent on control. They will not come from the checkbooks of George Soros, Sheldon Adelson or the Koch brothers.
They will come from American men and women in the trenches.
First, let’s hold our noses and elect one or the other false agents of change on the ballot.
Then get drunk if you want. Or, if like some of us you put the bottle away, go to a support-group meeting.
Then roll up your sleeves and start looking for ways to take this country back.
How? Not sure yet, but we’re refocusing our efforts to look for ways.