We have finally reached the destination from where we will watch and listen as the two candidates for the presidency of the United States of America campaign for our individual votes. The two major political parties have officially made known the wishes of their respective membership gatherings.
As if we had not had enough of campaigns and the verbal jousting and claims that go along with those campaigns, we awaken today to the realization that this is just beginning in earnest. We have done nothing more than narrow the field in both parties…except we’ve known what that outcome was going to be for some time.
We may, by now, have already made our selections from the two people whom we’ve known were going to be the candidates. There has been virtually no question for weeks , if not months, as to whom each party would mount as their candidate of choice. Many, if not most of us, have also known for whom our vote would be cast barring any last minute foul-up on our favored candidate’s part. So, the drama is actually centered on which of the two people who have cleared their party’s hurdles will be least inept during this final phase.
That seems a crass way to state this final leg of this important election, important to us and to the rest of the world. Whoever is the last to foul up, or whoever fouls up in the most noticeable manner will probably not become our next President, all other things being equal. Is the race for the presidency really about who fouls up least, or who has gone without fouling up for the longest time period?
If this is what we have reduced this decision-making process to, we have likely made our forefathers roll over in their graves. We seem to be auditioning our next president based on his or her most recent performance, more than we seem to be measuring the man or the woman based on the totality of their adult work product. We are asked to forget the embarrassing moments of one or the other candidates. We are asked to ‘make believe’ that we know which will be the best under the pressure of the Oval Office.
How can we intelligently answer that question when we have no basis for measuring the person against what they will have to bear up under other than anecdotally? We have not ‘been there and done that’.
We make our best guess and we cast our ballot. We forget that we were influenced by the snappiest campaign slogan and the by the roar of the crowds who attended their campaign events. We need to take our personal measure of the totality of the person; we need to remember everything we can remember about how they performed under stress in their earlier life as well as during the campaign.
Our selection process is imperfect. It can be nothing else but imperfect. We place our trust but we have little basis for that placement of trust unless we know the candidate personally. We take the word of others who have known the candidate for years, and who believe they know the person truly well. We vote on faith since there is virtually nothing else for us to base our decision upon. We watch as the candidate makes his or her way through the grueling campaign process. We try to remember what they did or didn’t do in important earlier positions.
We vote our gut and we vote our heart…and we pray that our choice will prove to have been the right choice…but we don’t know until the first test comes once the person takes the office. Sometimes we feel like we did well with our vote, and sometimes we wish we could have a do-over but we have to wait until the next four-year term is up for grabs.
We should spend some time analyzing and spend some time praying…and then make up our minds.