Fortitude Down the Stretch
Desperately searching for a new angle, the national media is now reporting that National Public Radio upset 4-year old Fort Collins, Colorado girl Abigael Evans by its political reporting on the presidential race. In response to this latest pre-electoral crisis, NPR issued a statement: “We must confess, the campaign’s gone on long enough for us, too. Let’s just keep telling ourselves: ‘Only a few more days, only a few more days, only a few more days.’” NPR felt compelled to apologize for the national election, capturing in this glib episode the national frustration with electoral politics. Instead of ignoring this temptation, NPR indulged it, prompting a question from this citizen, taxpayer, veteran, and registered voter: what the hell is wrong with you?
This writer’s Facebook account is blowing up with friends who are cleansing their hands, and thus, their consciences, of the whole sordid affair, as though they are somehow above it all. It’s messy, they proclaim, full of accusations, counteraccusations, and distortions of truth, and awash in money provided by corporations and social conservative elites (I am looking at you, Koch Brothers) on one hand, Hollywood and social liberal elites (now I am looking at you, George Soros) on the other. There is no sense of compromise. There’s no bipartisanship. The other side is wrong and we cannot wait to crush them. Et cetera. And now I am asking all of those people: what the hell is wrong with you, too?
This is more or less the way the system was designed. We all signed up for it, some of us by swearing oaths to it, others by the happenstance of birth and accepting the benefits, obligations, and protections provided by the American constitutional arrangement. Don’t like the system? Find a different one and pack your moving van, or move to an ungoverned space like Mali or an uninhabited Pacific island and sign off from society. Or change it. Think the electoral system is too heavily influenced by money, and that Citizens United was a miscarriage of justice? Change it. Amend the Constitution. It is an available remedy, and it has happened seventeen times post-ratification in our glorious national history.