By Charles E. Kraus
Over the last 60-plus years I’ve mailed in envelopes, driven down designated lanes where I either leaned out of my car wiNdow and dropped a ballot into a basket or handed it to someone who, rain or shine, was nice enough to transport it to a nearby collection box. I’ve walked in, waited in lines along with neighbors, pulled levers, pushed buttons, shaded little circles with pencil marks, placed checks next to candidate’s names; if I’m not mistaken, I even got to vote while participating in the Vietnam War. Far as I can tell, I’ve had my say in every election that cross my path. I’ll do so this year, too, but feeling that both the process and my objectives have been altered.
I consider myself a realist. When it comes to politics, I know full well candidates exaggerate their abilities, blur the prospects between aspiration and what may actually be achievable. Confuse the word possible with the word probable. I have generally been willing to settle for good intentions.
As I look over the races during the current election season, I’ll be searching for more than political affiliation. I’ll be voting for systems as well as individuals. Our system of government. Our system of conducting elections. Might say, I will be casting my vote for stability. For sanity. There would appear to be lots of opposition to these bedrock concepts. Feels odd that rationality and lucidity have been put up for approval. Previously, they were assumed.
Before I’ll consider granting anyone my vote, I want contenders to pass my entry-level test. To repledge allegiance to democratic principles. Swear a belief that, except when screwed up by the crazies, our voter system provides an accurate picture of how people feel about and judge issues and candidates. If you want my vote, kindly raise your right hand while placing your left on a stack of Scientific American magazines, and tell me you have more faith in science and measurable data than in conspiracies, conjecture, abstractions and inspired assumptions about ground level issues.
Yes, I want selectees to be intelligent, knowledgeable, and sincere. But they have to have something worth being sincere about. Their beliefs need to align with reality. Sincerity can be delusional. Gullibility is not a virtue.
Dear candidates: If you fail to put your trust in science, in history, in scrutinizing current conditions, in facing the past and using it to improve the future, if you cannot acknowledge that our system of government only works when a range of perspectives, supported or challenged by documentable facts, gets introduced into the discussion, then why are you even bothering to participate in the election process? You are a contradiction posing as an alternative.
Here’s to reason. May it sweep all contests, produce bumper crops. If it cannot save the GOP, at the very least, let it reset the GPS, pointing us towards the fastest path to better days.
Seattle resident Charles E. Kraus is the author of “Baffled Again … and Again.”
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