OPINION – I walked away from Sunday night’s bloodletting with only one thought in mind.
It’s a quote attributed to Edmund Burke, the noted conservative Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
For months I have shared the anger, frustration, disappointment and fear of a rattled nation.
I’ve tried to bottle my anger, put a cap on my frustration, but it is impossible at this point to mask my disappointment and fears.
I’m not so concerned about the election itself. It’s pretty clear that Hillary Clinton has this one in the bag, particularly after last week when Donald Trump’s campaign completely imploded after some horrid things he said about women surfaced and his admission of a complete disconnect with his running mate, Mike Pence, who he said he hasn’t consulted on some very critical foreign policy issues. His threat to throw Clinton in jail exposed him as nothing more than a Third World strongman wannabe, a thug without a whit of Constitutional sense or grounding.
His off-the-cuff manner?
Unsuitable for the White House.
I think enough voters have come to that conclusion by now.
But, I worry about the deepening chasm between the Clinton and Trump camps and wonder if it is possible for any healing to occur after the election.
Look, these two have gone at it hard. In fact, if the first two debates are any indication, the final matchup on Oct. 19 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas should be an all-out war, an unprecedented political bloodletting without regard for the turmoil these two will leave in their wake.
And it will only get worse when the shouting is over and the last ballots are tallied, especially with the House now back in play.
There will be plenty of blowback from both sides with old grudges that won’t heal left bleeding.
In a perfect world, I would like to see Clinton step forward and acknowledge that the system is broken and pledge to be a one-term caretaker of the office while both parties go back and rebuild themselves to better reflect the people they are supposed to represent.
It would result in, without question, the largest landslide in political history.
This is, obviously, not a perfect world. If it were, we would not have Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as our final choices.
So, it is incumbent that the good men, and women, do something to keep a hand on the rudder and try to steer this troubled craft into calmer waters, at least for a while, to right the ship, find the proper course and sail back into familiar waters of civility, decency and integrity.
Most importantly, we need to find a way to rebuild the remnants of that which bridged our political differences; to find the essence, the core of what both parties once stood for, represented and were able to use as principals of a diverse democracy that allows for myriad and disparate opinion, vigorous debate and conciliatory relations when a decision is arrived at.
I’ve tried to find good in both candidates.
I find none.
I am not a fan, but my gut tells me Hillary Clinton would do the least damage as our next leader.
The thought of Donald Trump in the White House terrifies me.
An unpopular stance?
But, I must be true to myself and share my honest opinion.
You wouldn’t expect otherwise and it would be an insult to both of us to try to hide what is in my heart.
So, I have come up empty, just as I have in looking at a hopeless ballot of out-of-touch career politicians.
The incumbents are set and smug, the challengers are perhaps eager and good intentioned, but for the most part, weak and lacking the depth of experience to effectively lead.
I am anxious for the sun to set on this election season, to take the next four years and rebuild a nation that is quite shaky after years of obfuscation, obstructionist politics, obtuse Congressional leadership.
I was hopeful that voters would not stoop to the petty, childish levels of name-calling and bullying. It didn’t happen. We are a nation divided, as divided as during the Civil War.
We have given way to slurs and stereotypes, partisan forgiveness of egregious errors and developed a clannishness that is not only inappropriate but dangerous and offensive.
Still, whether you like it or not folks, we’re in this together.
If we can’t get it together somewhere along the line, we are up that proverbial creek without either a paddle or a GPS.
These are uncharted waters.
We’ve never seen anything like this before.
Even in the nation’s earliest days, the Founding Fathers had a rough idea of what they wanted to accomplish.
This is more akin to Sherman’s March to The Sea, where he left everything from Atlanta to Savannah in cinders and rubble, than it is a political race.
This is like The Blitz over London, only we’re doing it to ourselves.
It’s Attila sacking the Balkans, except we’re stealing from our own vaults of morality.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
We could use a few good men and women right now.
We need them to patch things up, rebuild those bridges that have turned to ash, rekindle the spirit of a nation that once ascribed to the notion of “United we stand, divided we fall.”
We need them, most of all, to refresh our sense of humanity, dignity and honesty; to erase this lingering obsession with anger; to restore our stature in a world that, quite frankly, is aghast at how horribly wrong things have gone during this election cycle.
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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