I get it. You don’t like either candidate. And I completely agree: both candidates are deeply flawed. (Notice, I did not say “equally flawed” because one is unquestionably exponentially more flawed than the other). But they are your only choices. And no, Gary Johnson is not going to be our next president. The 2016 election season has given us all some serious heartburn.
But with 45 days left until the Presidential election, now is not the time to start complaining. You can’t pull your head out of the sand once every four years and bark phrases like “I detest our two-party system!” and “Get rid of the electoral college!” and “Caucuses are outdated!” and expect anything to change.
You don’t need to run for office or join a campaign to get involved (although, if that’s your thing, go for it). Here are some things you can do without even moving from your couch or taking your fingers off your keyboard.
One: Be a savvy consumer of media. And hold the media accountable. Stop watching news sources that don’t inform, only incite. And steer clear of those that dumb things down so much that they are meaningless.
Two: Demand facts. And use facts. We must pull ourselves out of our stupor and realize that truth matters. Facts are not subjective. Learn to recognize the difference between fact and opinion. And don’t accept untruthful statements. Don’t share things on social media that you haven’t made some attempt to verify first. It’s not difficult. Google is your friend. And it knows more than you, and it’s willing to share. You just have to ask.
Third: Pay attention to elections. And not just the big one. You must start paying attention to who is running for office at the state and local levels, and during the primaries. Yes, that matters. Because the presidential candidates are the cream that has risen to the top. Yes, this is the cream. Actually now that I think about it, scum rises to the top too. And our pool of candidates is a result of decades of lack of attention. Do some research on the candidates at the primary elections. Don’t vote for candidates that don’t represent your values. Presidential candidates are almost always previously Governors, Senators or Congresspeople. It’s rare that a candidate has no political experience at all in elected office. (And that’s a good thing.)
If you can do those three things, that would be a brilliant start. There are other important things, too. And maybe once we’ve all recovered from the horror of the 2016 election, we can talk about them. But for now, I need a rest.