As I sit and watch the political ping-pong, zing across the inter-webs like so many Sneetches, I have done my level best to stay out of the fray. If the experience of my forty-seven years has taught me anything, it is that another’s point of view has never been swayed by a single pithy comment, image of Willy Wonka or rapier-like jab.
No matter how smart you think you are, and no matter how clever your delivery; odds are at least one-third of the universe thinks you (and your opinions) are equivalent to the hind-end of some slovenly livestock.
I watched as the field of Republicans devoured each other like Uruguayan rugby players stranded in the Andes. The last one standing is certainly not the finest choice, but only the best at not losing; which is not the same thing as winning.
I watched as the assembled Democrats each struggled to get a foothold on a cliff face where one candidate, in particular, seemed to have advanced knowledge of all the right locations to grab. Another made great progress in the effort, only to have his cleverly placed and popular hands repeatedly trod upon by those espousing neutrality.
The Internet is awash in quotes and memes decrying the sad state of our country and I can honestly say for the first time in my life… I am at a loss.
I feel like I have traveled a long, hot road with little water and no food, only to come up over a rise to find a rotting opossum on one side of the road and a rotting raccoon on the other. My body screams “you must eat something” but my mind is making the argument for starvation.
What does any of this have to do with Pokemon? Forge ahead gentle reader, forge ahead.
First of all, let me dispel the accuracy of a phrase I hear all the time… “two-party system.” In the United States of America, our political system supports an infinite number of parties. Most Americans believe that Democrats & Republicans are all we have ever had, you know like Coke & Pepsi or McDonalds & Burger King. All those other weird parties we see on the ballot every November may as well be an RC Cola, purchased at a Hardees.
We do not have a two-party system.
Furthermore, since we do not have a two-party system, candidates for any office who belong to a party other than Republican or Democratic should not be referred to as “third-party.” Anyone on the ballot belongs to the party they belong to – no numerical labels necessary.
In fact, in addition to Republicans and Democrats, major party candidates for president or vice president (by that I mean one of the two main contenders) came from the following parties:
- Free Soil
I will grant you since 1856, the winner of the White House has been either a Democrat or Republican with the runner up being the opposite – but that doesn’t mean it has to stay this way. The modern age has ushered in an unprecedented wave of disruption and our political inertia is ripe for a wholesale re-vamp.
Honestly, anyone who believes the White House can only be won by a Democrat or a Republican is as about as astute as a record company executive in 1998 saying, “This whole MP3 thing will blow over – people will always want physical CDs.”
In the space of one month, in the USA alone, this game went from not existing to something between twelve and twenty million daily players.
Is it a fad that will die off as quickly as it appeared? You bet your ass it is, but that’s not the point.
The point is that in 2016, we have the communications infrastructure in place for something to go from a simple idea, to a multi-million-person sensation in mere days.
So, what does Pokemon Go have to do with our mediocre options to lead our country for the coming four years? In a word… plenty.
Let me briefly state something. I have no intention of trying to sway you in one political direction or another. My goal here is to simply show my fellow countrypersons how they need not accept what they are being told by the two dominant parties and the media.
There are two additional, serious, organized choices for president, that deserve your consideration. They are:
Libertarian Party – Gary Johnson & William Weld
Green Party – Jill Stein & Ajamu Baraka
Now – before all you statistics wonks get your respective panties in a wad – please do not tell me, “A vote for a minor-party candidate may as well be a vote for the opposite of what you want.” Furthermore, do not tell my how the loss of Bob Dole to Bill Clinton in 1996 was caused by all those who voted for Ross Perot. That might have been true then, but if you think about how far we’ve come, in so many ways, in the last two decades, you’ll see how thin that argument is today.
I’m not telling you what to think, but rather to stop drinking at the trough of, “the way things have always been” and actually take the time to really review your options.
Before you weigh-in on the next water cooler, or Facebook conversation about the 2016 race for the White House, take thirty minutes and engage in the following exercise.
Take a letter-sized piece of paper, and divide it into four even sections. The, go to position or issue page of each of the following (listed here alphabetically by last name with links):
For each candidate, take 7.5 minutes and try to jot down three things you agree with and three things you don’t. I’m not saying you’re going to change your mind about anything, but you will be better informed and that is never a bad thing.
However, it is possible within the privacy of your computer screen and that single piece of paper, you will discover better options than what the media and conventional thinking are offering you. If you find that to be the case, share your findings with your friends and encourage them to undertake the same exercise. The Internet and Social Media are capable of much more than cat videos and memes of Kermit the Frog drinking tea.
How much fun would Pokemon Go be, if there were only two kinds out there to catch?
Twenty million people are running around our great nation trying to “catch em all.” Don’t we, at the bare minimum, owe the process of electing our next president the same effort?
A measurable percentage of Democrats are not convinced Hillary is right. An equal number of Republicans are not pleased with Trump. As an independent, I can tell you I’m not comfortable voting for either.
If enough of us have the guts to consider a different choice, and back it up with a vote, then we actually have a chance at not putting a (Poké)monster in the White House. From where I’m sitting today, it looks like we’re going to get one either way. That is unless you heed and share my words… if you’re as fed up as I am, GO!
Copyright © 2016 – Stephen S. Nazarian – All rights reserved