Today I am embarrassed to be an American. I can’t be on social media for more than a few seconds because it’s filled with such hatred and judgment it turns my stomach. I’m appalled to realize that this who we are as Americans. This is who we’ve become.
Is the reason we have such unlikeable candidates running for president because they reflect our society and how we each see ourselves? We don’t like ourselves very much do we? We’ve put forward people to run our country who are like we are. Untrustworthy. Dishonest, perhaps. We expect to be lied to because we ourselves have trouble with the truth. We lie to ourselves about ourselves so we expect others, especially our leaders to do the same.
Take every negative trait that’s been used to describe our current candidates and ask yourself if you also possess that trait. It will be hard, but try, just this once, to give an honest answer.
When we point a finger at someone, there are three pointing back at us. And there’s been a whole lot of finger pointing going on. And a lot of name calling. Denial is the name of the current political game. But the whole country is in denial.
As our educational system has declined and our illiteracy rate has increased, we appreciate someone who has a small mind and uses small words. Also, someone who can repeat things many times. We don’t care if they’re actually imparting accurate information; in fact, we’d rather they didn’t. We’d prefer that they simply repeat their messages in language we understand so we’ll know who to vote for. And we are much too lazy to ferret out the truth behind their statements.
We don’t want anyone honorable to run our country because that individual might expect us to behave honorably. Likewise we don’t want anyone who’s been particularly successful outside of public office to be elected because we might be expected to also work hard and make something of ourselves. They might impart some unpleasant facts we don’t want to hear such as the fact that the government is not obligated to support us with one “entitlement” after another. Or that it’s okay to skate by doing the bare minimum.
We fear anyone who is not like us. Anyone who is intelligent, fearless, who says what he or she thinks regardless of the consequences. We don’t want anyone who puts themselves on the line, who can withstand public ridicule, who stands up for what they believe in. Because most of us don’t believe in anything. We don’t believe in ourselves or each other. We don’t believe in a higher power. We think there is no real meaning or purpose to our lives. So it’s better to elect someone who’s just spinning the wheels and grabbing for the momentary glory and using the power of office for his or her own gain.
Certainly we would never want to elect anyone who would admit to mistakes or who has the guts to apologize or attempt to rectify past wrongs. If we did, we might, at some point be expected to admit that we’ve also made mistakes. Or said things we wish we hadn’t.
We don’t want to elect the best candidate for the job because we’ve forgotten what our best is. We’ve buried it so deeply beneath discouragement and hopelessness and pure meanness that we’ve taught ourselves to expect more of the same.
If we’re unhappy with the choices before us in the upcoming election, it might be time to look in the mirror and admit we know the reasons why.