Election 2020?

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First…hello to readers of years past. As y’all know, I took a year off from this blog for a pit stop. But now I have fresh wheels, and—for better or worse—I’m back on track. (And greetings to you new visitors.)

I think my pit stop helped in a few ways. I finished the draft of another book, this one a crime fiction potboiler, and a PK magnum opus with the artistic and commercial promise of an Ed Wood film.

I also created a woodland park in our backyard, resumed guitar playing after a long layoff, and became laid off in June due to quote “lack of work” unquote. But the latter is a good thing. I was beginning to hate the work that was so lacking. And I’m now at a life station where the ridiculousness of things is much clearer, and I can better afford to raise the proverbial middle finger at said ridiculousness. 

Also, my granddaughters are a bigger part of my life after having returned to the U.S. from Scotland. And I’ve been reading a lot.  Books. Most recently I read Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. There’s a reason why everyone reading this blog is familiar with the name Hemingway. His is the way to write. And in the spirit of Hemingway, Longitudes Mark II will have shorter essays. Mark I was becoming bloated. Moving forward I hope to express myself using fewer and clearer words. The key word is hope.

But that does not mean I will be softening my views. Au contraire! Things are as shitty if not shittier than they ever were. And I’ll be here to ascertain the dung heap. Which brings me to today’s topic…America’s favorite horse race…our shitty presidential election.

My wife loves the cliché “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.” I disagree. Our Bill of Rights has an amendment that gives me the freedom to complain even if I choose not to vote. (What a wonderful thing.) Now, if I’m too lazy or uninformed to vote, then perhaps absence from the voting booth gives me no ethical right to complain. There are many lazy and uninformed non-voters in America today. And also, many idiotic voters. I haven’t yet figured out which is worse.

But abstention from voting because one dislikes the candidates or is disgusted with the electoral process gives him or her every right to complain. I happen to like one of our two presidential candidates. What sickens me is not the candidates (one of them), it’s the corrupted and rigged election process that makes my vote practically meaningless. The year 2020 is a lot different than 1976, when I first voted.

For me, voting in a U.S. election in 2020 is like screaming “Fire!” when the building is already a smoking ash pile. I voted in every election for years, and even campaigned for a couple candidates. But when a free people in a so-called democracy see flames shooting up, and instead of throwing water choose to fling gasoline, it’s time to move on.

I think. I may actually vote again. I haven’t decided. Even though I’m faced with a foreboding ash pile, at least I can still scream, which is better than nothing. But I’ve reached the end of the page, which is a signal that my essay is filling up with more hot air than a Trump tweet.

Anyway…good to be back.

15 thoughts on “Election 2020?

  1. Welcome back, Pete. Agree 100% about the low-information voters and the horrible direction of this election. I’m politically homeless, which means I chose to vote for neither Trump nor Biden. They are both awful in their own ways. Where’s Ross Perot when we need him? Rather than getting bogged down in the daily news cycle, I’m reading about the real men and women who founded this great country. I recently finished “Washington: A Life” by Ron Chernow, who won a Pulitzer for it, and “John Adams” by David McCullough. Have you read these masterpieces? They provide historical context and perspective that few Americans today possess. My take-away is that everyone should just chill out. Our country has suffered through much worse than what we have now in 2020. Cheers – Tad

    • Thanks Tad. I’ve read McCullough’s bio of John Adams, which is indeed a classic. Haven’t read Chernow, but did read McCullough’s treatment of Washington in “1776.” Good book, but not as good as “John Adams.”

      I hear some historians saying we’ve been worse off before, but I don’t think I agree (not that I’m smarter than they are). We were definitely as ideologically divided both before and during the Civil War, but at least then we had responsible, intelligent leadership (including inept James Buchanan) to help us weather the storm. Not so now. In our obsession with ideology we’re now willing to elect congenital liars, blatant racists and xenophobes, and authoritarian demagogues. You should read “How Democracies Die,” which I reviewed here a while back. America is still young, still an “experiment” in democracy and self-government, and right now the experiment is failing abysmally, with money at the root of the problem. Don’t kid yourself…ALL empires decline and fall.

      Another part of the problem is our obsession, especially in the media, with equalization. Your comment about Trump and Biden being equally awful, though in different ways, is an example. Yes, the two have severe policy discrepancies, and if you’re a Republican then Biden (like Obama), might not be your cup of tea. But as far as public service, grasp of the issues, historical understanding, and especially character, there’s no comparison. Are we going to continue to elect atrocious leaders like Trump because of a letter after their name? How much longer are we willing to reward bad behavior because of ideology?

      Ross Perot! What a character. “Just get under the hood and FIX it.” I didn’t vote for him, but at this low point in time he looks pretty darn good!

  2. Good to have you back Pedro! I’m loving the new Hemingwayness in you. And I so agree…To vote or not to vote or will it be counted or not. These and other questions make you wanna got “oh, f*ck it!”. Okay, seriously: I’m voting for God-save-us-from-another-four-years-of-THAT!

    • Nice to be back, Rock. Yeah, this creature “we” elected in 2016 is beyond the pale, and he and his right-wing cult worshippers are doing everything they can to tilt the system in their favor. They seem to be succeeding well.

  3. The cat came back and so did Pete. Look forward to your thoughts. I can hear you banging out ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’ on that guitar. Sounds like you were doing some recharging in a lot of areas dont let he other stuff drive you mad. Like that other Pete (Townshend) said, “Give me something to hang onto”. Later fella

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