In theory, an election is an occasion for the people to make their voices heard. It is supposed to be an empowering occasion. Yet many (those who pay attention) often find election campaigns depressing. This U.S. Presidential election is perhaps the most blatant case of all. Here are some of comedian John Oliver’s names for this election:
Oh I get it, we all died and this is hell and Satan has cursed us to live out this nightmare for all eternity 2016
The Electoral equivalent of seeing someone puking, so you start puking, and then someone else is puking, and pretty soon everyone is puking 2016
What Did I Do to Deserve This? I Always Tried To Be a Good Person is This Because I Stole Candy Once in 4th grade ? Please Stop Punishing Us 2016
Uncle Sam’s rock bottom yankee-doodle suicide pact 2016
Lady Liberty convenience store robbery gone wrong descending into a hostage situation and now she’s demanding a chopper 2016
Lice on Rats on a Horse Corpse on Fire 2016
The exasperating limitations of this democratic exercise are a window into the exasperating limitations of the current political system as a whole. That’s not to say, however, that within those limits it makes no difference who ends up in power at the end of the exercise. I see plenty of people who point out that the U.S. political system is corrupt and unjust and hurts many people. But then you you get a guy running for President who absolutely revels in how he has taken advantage of the corrupt system, who openly can’t wait to abuse his power and use it to inflict harm on many people, and many of these worldly cynics suddenly turn naive, saying we should count on the very corrupt, unjust system they have just excoriated to somehow restrain Trump’s worse impulses. Uh…no. And then there’s his party…it’s not like Trump becoming their nominee was a sheer fluke. Trump is a powerful distillation of Republican toxicity.
So don’t count me among the ones who say it makes no difference – that they’re all the same. Trump and his party must be beaten decisively.
Here are some lyrics to a song I wrote about this:
It’s time to see
So let the games begin
Are you depressed
At demagogues getting success?
Better raise your voice
And make your choice
Yes, here we go again
It’s just a choice of evils
But the least we can do
Is try to be civil
Well, maybe not civil. Some of the other songs that came out on my limited edition Election 2016 album aren’t so civil. But at least we can try to be decent human beings. Maybe then we will have better election campaigns in the future, or even a better political system in general.