Indiana, among other states, has just come through primary election season. Citizens who have chosen to exercise their franchise and vote–a minority of those who could or should have–have decided what choices we voters will face in November.
In no case of which I am aware will those voters get to pick between God and Mammon–or even between an ideal candidate and one who is less desirable. For that matter, in no state of which I am aware do citizens of either major party all agree on the characteristics of an ideal candidate.
This being the way of the real world, different people will react to this inescapable situation differently.
Purists and cynics, whose ranks have swelled, will assume a “pox on all their houses” posture. Some will vote, but many will not. In cases where the non-voters’ lack of participation results in the election of a person who will pursue destructive or inhumane policies, they will use that result to justify their belief that the entire system is beyond redemption, and that opting out confirms their moral superiority.
Needless to say, this is not an approach that improves the political landscape.
Those of us who do vote are equally aware of the systemic deficits and corruption of American governance, but we also understand that we live in the real world. There are no ideal or perfect candidates. There are no political parties able to high-mindedly ignore the importance of political fundraising or the contending claims and anxieties of relevant voting constituencies.
There are no political “saviors” whose election will magically bring about the sort of bipartisan agreements necessary for sweeping policy change. Even candidates with whom we agree will have limited ability to move America forward.
Lasting improvements to large-scale systems are overwhelmingly incremental; revolutions just tend to generate counter-revolutions. Recognizing this requires that we must often choose between very imperfect options–and unfortunately, in the real world, refusing to make a choice isn’t possible, because failing to vote is also a choice.
In my view, rational people will recognize that a choice between imperfect options is not the same thing as a choice without consequences.Some imperfect candidates and parties are considerably better than others.
In November, American voters will decide between continued control of our government by a Republican Party that has devolved into a White Nationalist cult, and a Democratic Party that–despite plenty of problems and deficiencies– is far more likely to support policies that will benefit most Americans.
In the real world, support for GOP candidates and/or refusal to cast a ballot are both a vote for that White Nationalist cult and its appalling and unAmerican President. It is a message that the individual is not sufficiently dissatisfied with the status quo to signal that dissatisfaction at the ballot box.
The real world is messy and imperfect. That doesn’t mean that some imperfect choices aren’t better–much better–than others.