By Graham Glover –
First, a confession: I’ve been politically depressed for about 8 months.
When 2016 began, my political psyche started going downhill. As the primary season rolled on, my political bad mood turned in to downright depression. I think it hit rock bottom after the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. For the past month I’ve wanted to shut down politically. Seriously, I thought I had reached the point of no return. My love of and faith in politics had all but worn out.
But something happened recently. Something changed. I don’t know what it was or when it happened. (There was no “born again” moment.)
Nonetheless, I’m no longer politically depressed. In fact, you might say I am even a bit hopeful. Hopeful in politics. Hopeful in this November’s election. Hopeful in our Republic.
For those of you that are where I have been, I have a simple message for you: there’s no reason to be depressed about the 2016 election. None whatsoever. No matter who is elected president, who that person may nominate to the Supreme Court, which party maintains or takes control of Congress, or how parties and candidates do in statewide and local elections, there is no reason to be, become, or remain depressed.
You may think the Donald or Hillary, Inc. are poor candidates, the worst our modern parties have ever nominated. You may fear for our nation if either of them is elected. You may even think we are on the brink of some type of catastrophic meltdown no matter who is victorious in November. But you really need to stop. Seriously. Stop it. Now. Right Now.
For these candidates are but a reflection of who we are as a people. As imperfect as they both are, they represent (in more ways than we care to admit) the public that they seek to lead. These candidates are you. They are me. What they say is what we think. The legislation the sponsor and vote for is what we support. We shouldn’t be depressed about the 2016 election, because this election is nothing more than a referendum on who we truly are as a people: imperfect citizens, living in an imperfect Republic, voting for imperfect candidates.
That’s right, our imperfections are epitomized in our politics. And I for one don’t find this depressing at all. In fact, I find it ripe with opportunity and hope.
It’s ripe for those of us who love politics and see in the marketplace of ideas a chance to advance any number of causes that we are passionate about. It’s ripe for those of us who love to debate policy, and in this intense political climate, are forced to hone our rhetorical skills and political knowledge as we go toe to toe with our political adversaries. Its ripe with hope for those of us that have the foresight to know that two years from now our nation will go back to the polls and that 2 years later we’ll be having this same conversation about presidential candidates all over again. What an incredible opportunity for the victor and the loser to assess what they did right (or wrong) and how they should continue to frame (or reframe) their platforms. This election is ripe with opportunity and hope because in our democratic republic we are forced to vote for imperfect leaders that represent imperfect parties that are made up of imperfect voters, which means that we will never be without another chance to make our case to the electorate. And this – this constant campaign – this constant debate – is exactly what makes our imperfect way of governing work.
So don’t be depressed. Be hopeful. Be opportunistic. Because if this election will prove anything, it’s that another one is coming, and with it, another hopeful opportunity to do that which Americans do so well – politics.