Maybe We Should be Serious

As a reasonable person, I tend to prefer blog posts that express clear, well-reasoned thoughts. It is to my dismay, then, when I find most so many incoherent posts out there. All the better, though, when I discover a well-written blog like The Front Porch Philosopher, even when I might disagree with a particular sentiment.

In this post entitled Are We Serious?, the author expresses concern over the thought of either Trump or Sanders actually winning the presidency:

My question for America after New Hampshire is, are we serious? Do we realize that we are choosing someone to do a job here, the most important job in the world? This is not reality TV, and it’s not a popularity contest. We are not deciding the next American Idol here, but the leader of the free world.

Okay. That’s a good and valid question that is certainly worthy of consideration.

Would either man be able to accomplish anything at all? Would they stick to their campaign rhetoric? Would they endanger America’s economy and/or safety?

Again, worthy questions, and if you choose not to vote for either of these men based on these concerns, it would be hard for a reasonable person to fault you for it.

I want to call more attention to an issue raised by that very same author, however:

I get it. People are fed up with Washington. They’re fed up with Wall Street. They’re tired of both parties, let down by Bush and Obama. Voters are sending the message that they will not be controlled. They will not dutifully line up behind their party’s Chosen One. This year, people are choosing passion over pragmatism.

Here’s another reasonable question: which is more important – the relatively short term of a single presidency or the long term of a party’s direction?

It seems to me that we consistently have protest candidates. These people rise, give voice to the people’s concerns, and fall back to earth before the general election. The establishment of each party publicly frets about how they understand the people’s frustrations.

Privately, however, I think that each party’s establishment feels something completely different. It seems reasonable to assume they think, “The people threaten and bluster about these protest candidates, but at the end of the day, they put in office the candidates we tell them to elect. Why should we change anything?”

History tells us that Trump and Sanders are protest candidates who will be replaced by a proper establishment figure once it’s time to actually put someone new into the White House. Republicans and Democrats will continue on just as they always have – more concerned with maintaining power than with accomplishing anything for the voters.

In the short run, electing one of these two men might very well be an unmitigated disaster. In the long run, though, will leaving the two parties on their current course be an even worse one?

So no, we’re not serious. But maybe we should be.

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