Okay. I’ve never done this before. I’ve never talked politics on this or any of my blogs. There are a number of reasons for this, the primary one being that it’s completely off-topic. If I had to pick a second reason, there’s simply no upside to it. Linus van Pelt taught me that lesson long, long ago. “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people… religion, politics, and The Great Pumpkin.”
But man, I just can’t hold back this time.
Don’t worry, though. I’m hoping that unlike most political rants this one won’t be offensive. And that’s probably because I’m not in a frothing fury about the general state of things. No, I’m just exasperated. And maybe you are too.
Let’s talk about a man and a woman. This man and this woman are running for President of the United States. The man got his start in business. He built up a successful company on his own, employing many, many people, and making millions of dollars in the process. The woman is no stranger to politics. It’s not even her first attempt at running for president.
The man has been involved in controversial topics. His foreign policy has been questioned. His political party affiliations have changed in the past. Those who would otherwise vote for the person in his position claim he doesn’t truly represent their party.
The woman is also not without controversy. She’s tweeted things that she meant to be one thing but which very much went the other way. She supports traditional liberal issues, believes in promoting women and minorities, and has issues with the unchecked proliferation of guns.
I’d like you to meet this man and this woman: Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.
[Insert cliche needle-scratch sound effect here]
“Uhhh . . . Who?”
Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. You know, two of (the thirty or so) people running for President of the United States in 2016.
“Um, Charlie . . . did you say thirty or so? Because I watch the news every day and follow Twitter and find things on Facebook and I’m one hundred percent positive there are only two people running for president right now.”
Yes, you would think that, wouldn’t you? And this is part of my exasperation: this fixation on a two-party system in a country that clearly supports more than two parties. Why is that?
Is it because (as conventional wisdom goes) that the two major parties are for “normal people” and those other parties are for “weirdos?” Is it because the human brain has a far easier time choosing one out of two and not one out of thirty? Is it because if indeed all thirty got equal media attention and actually ran neck-and-neck that the president would be chosen by a “majority” of 4% of the electorate?
Who knows. Still, it might be nice if third party candidates got a little more attention. Theodore Roosevelt made a good go at it in 1912 as he attempted a third term. Ross Perot popped up eighty years later. There were others, of course, with varying degrees of success. But it’s looking like Millard Fillmore (1850) will be the last third party candidate we’ll ever see elected, and that kind of makes me sad.
Current State of Affairs
Okay, I can’t leave without saying something about the current election. I count myself among the group of people dismayed by what’s going on.
By all accounts, I should be thrilled by an outsider, speaking his mind, and wanting to shake up the establishment. On paper, that sounds cool. Similarly, I should be thrilled by the prospect of the first female president. I’m not only all-for that idea, I would actually be behind a law requiring we elect forty-four women in a row, just to even things out.
Instead, it feels like we’ve somehow ended with this weird situation where neither candidate actually wants to be president. Instead, both of them are getting toward the bottom of their Bucket List and are simply trying to check off “Get Elected President.”
I’ve been trying to identify a single aspect of this campaign which, more than all the others, bothers me the most. With so many things, it’s hard to choose just one. I could go on for another ten thousand words, which, thankfully, I won’t.
But if I were forced to pick just one thing that really captures it for me, it’s what I’ll broadly call “saying stuff.”
It bugs me to no end that all you have to do is “say stuff” and you can win people over. The stuff can be just whatever randomly pops into your head. It can be an outright lie. It can be purposefully calculated to score a point. But in the end, while people might greedily gobble it up, “saying stuff” isn’t going to solve anything.
And maybe it’s not the “saying stuff” itself that bothers me as much as the fact that there seems to be no consequence to it. Trump famously quipped, “I could shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” and the thing is: he’s probably right. And I can’t stand that.
That’s why I’ve decided: I’m going to run for president. Not way off in the future. Not in 2020. But right now. And I’m going to do it on the proven and winning platform of “saying stuff” because clearly that’s all you have to do. I’ve never served in government or anything, but that’s okay, because President of the United States is an entry level position in public service.
Since most of the major parties seem to have already nominated someone, I’ve just started my own party. Stealing an idea from the film Brewster’s Millions, I’m going to call it the None of the Above Party. And I’m happy to announce that the None of the Above Party has just unanimously elected me as their nominee for president. Here is my acceptance speech.
Thank you for this great honor. If elected president, I will grow the economy and eliminate the national debt. I will reduce crime and I will stop ISIS. I will fix immigration. Guns won’t be a problem any more, because I will buy everyone one free gun. I will make sure health care is free for everybody and I’ll get Australia to pay for it. We’ll also be safe from gun violence because I’m going to take everyone’s guns away. I will finish the war on drugs. If you vote for me, all of your wildest dreams will come true.
And, in 2023, when the people complain and say, “Why didn’t you reduce crime? Where’s our free health care? You promised us that!” I have the perfect reply all ready to go.
“I never said that.”