OPINION – I’m pretty sure 2016 will be remembered as “The Year of The Angry Voter.”
At least that’s the way it seems.
Everybody’s ticked off for one reason or another.
They’re angry with the president.
They’re angry with Donald Trump.
They’re angry with Hillary Clinton.
They’re angry with Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Martin O’Malley, FOX News, Megyn Kelly, Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, CNN, the IRS, BLM, ICE, ISIS, the U.S. Supreme Court, gasoline prices, the House, the Senate, Chris Matthews and Rush Limbaugh.
Republicans are angry with Democrats, Democrats are angry with Republicans, and the Tea Party is angry with everybody.
About the only person everybody seems to look kindly upon is Pope Francis and that is because urban legend and social mythology has grown to such huge proportions, especially when it comes to all of the phony quotes attributed to him. Give the people time, they’ll be angry with him soon enough.
It’s almost like living in Philadelphia, where they would boo their mother on Mother’s Day if she struck out with men on base in the eighth inning of a tight ballgame.
What this has resulted in, of course, is a couple of guys – Trump and Sanders – who otherwise wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance of winning the Oval Office knocking on the door.
There is no way either candidate would still be in the race if the voters didn’t have this major hate in their hearts for anything political, human or vegetable.
I mean, I thought the last presidential election cycle was unusually vicious.
This time around, however, the smoke is singeing the back of my brain as I see and hear a litany of sins – presumed and earned – rattled off throughout the day as the election goes through its daily news cycle.
I had the news networks on the other day as the run-up to the Iowa caucus took place. I felt as if I needed to take a shower after watching about three hours of this stuff.
I have a friend who has written a couple of books on Washington politics who is apoplectic over the Trump candidacy. I have another who has gone over the edge with vitriol spewing on Hillary Clinton. And, I know others who continue to tar and feather the president, who isn’t even in the race this year and is about to walk away from it all.
I can understand and applaud vigorous debate.
I respect passion.
But, I have no feel for people who are so stupid they don’t realize they are stupid – the afflicted who practice kneejerk politics and couldn’t generate an original thought or opinion on something as important as a presidential election.
It’s one thing to support party policy. That’s what politics is all about. And, you cannot separate it. Either you back your party’s platform or you spend your vote elsewhere. You can’t split your vote, offering some bits to the left, some to the right, and some to the dreaded center.
It’s an all-or-nothing proposition.
And, perhaps that’s the rub.
You see, this is, on the whole, the dimmest roster of presidential hopefuls I have ever seen.
There isn’t a one who makes me feel genuinely at ease.
Politically, there is only one candidate who I feel remotely reflects my interests. I wonder, however, if he is actually electable. And, I hear rumblings about his staff that give me pause.
All of this has unnerved the voting public to the point where anything is possible this election year.
That’s why, even if I was using your money, I wouldn’t place a bet on who the next occupant of the White House will be. Besides, it is against federal law to place a bet on elections in the United States. But, if you could travel over the border somewhere, and wanted to lay down a few Euros, yen, or pesos, here’s the latest line: Hillary Clinton 5-6, Donald Trump 3-1, Marco Rubio 11-2, Bernie Sanders 7-1, Jeb Bush 20-1, Ted Cruz 20-1, Michael Bloomberg 25-1, and Chris Christie 40-1. As you can see, some candidates are already off the board. That doesn’t mean much, however, because there is a lot of ground to cover between now and Nov. 8 when we cast our ballots, and anything can happen.
So, there is plenty of time to get angry in case you are one of those who is still walking around with a smile.
Things have gotten so bad that I have seen several of my friends shut down their Facebook pages.
One of them left behind this message: “Goodbye, Facebook. My social media accounts are going dark permanently tomorrow morning. I will miss those of you I have reconnected with over the past several years, but the advantages of social media are now outweighed by the disadvantages, and it is no longer worth the psychological price I pay to be myself or express my opinions.”
Another expressed similar sentiments.
So, is this what we have come to?
Is this how we are supposed to treat each other?
I don’t think so.
But, I would like to know why you are so angry.
Drop a comment at the end of this column. Leave a comment on the St. George News Facebook page.
Please, don’t give me superficial stuff like “Obama sucks,” “Trump is an idiot,” “liberals/conservatives are stupid,” or anything else that is vague, vacuous, or simply the continuance of Mommy and Daddy’s influences or preferences. Point fingers only if you have verifiable facts to back you up.
I would also ask that you are respectful of each other and don’t take this off into the kind of political, cultural, religious tangents these sorts of discussions often take.
Coming up with the most caustic comeback doesn’t make you clever, smart, or witty. It just makes you look nasty and accomplishes nothing, so please, let’s keep it simple.
And, perhaps, we can learn a thing or two.
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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