By RICK NEBEL
This is in response to the recent Letter to the Editor (letter) by the League of Women Voters.
My understanding is that Hillary Clinton spent twice as much as Donald Trump on the last election. How did THAT work out for her! Money isn’t the problem. The problem is us.
The reason candidates use attack ads is because they work. This isn’t anything new. About 100 years ago H. L. Mencken told us that “nobody ever went broke or lost an election by underestimating the taste of the American public.” He also told us that sooner or later we were going to put a “total moron” in the White House. You can take your pick from the last several presidents.
The League’s notion that we need to “RESTORE dignity and genuine debate to the political scene” is also factually incorrect. Let’s go back to the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 where Douglas said of Lincoln (Charleston Illinois debate, I believe): “In Freeport (Northern Illinois) he’s jet black, in Central Illinois he’s mulatto, and down here in Egypt (Southern Illinois) he’s almost white!”
And those debates are considered the gold standard of American political discourse. Have you ever read a 19th century newspaper? The Illinois State Register regularly referred to Mr. Lincoln as a “traitor.” And that was one of his hometown (Springfield Illinois) newspapers.
Let me suggest that the League of Women voters might like to consider a more relevant question:
Question: When was the last time that you didn’t have to hold your nose when you voted for President?
Answer: I’ve been voting since 1972 and I’ve had to hold my nose every time.
The simple fact of the matter is that we don’t nominate or elect very good candidates for president. Politics seems to work on an inverse evolutionary principle where the farther you proceed up the political food chain, the worse the candidates become. It’s not like cream rising to the top of the milk bottle. It’s more like turds floating to the top of the toilet bowl. I thought we had a good group of candidates in our local elections this year.
As usual, the same could not be said of our choices at the national level. So what can be done about it? Winston Churchill once described democracy as the worst form of government known to mankind, except for every other form of government. After having voted for the losing candidate in the past seven presidential election cycles, I’ve concluded that there probably isn’t a whole lot that I can do about it. I’ve finally learned to adjust to the government rather than beating my head against the wall trying to influence it.
Fortunately our founding fathers gave us a form of government with individual rights along with checks and balances. Perhaps they knew us better than we would care to admit.