Vote for the individual rather than the party
A Sept. 8 letter contended that it’s unfair of Republican leaders not to back Donald Trump. Rubbish! Candidates are commonly boasted about and emotionally backed by members of a political party, viciously attacking the opponent; the privilege to cast a vote reduced to bearing an uncomfortable resemblance to how people drunkenly rally behind a sport team.
Politics is not a game. Those we elect to carry out the workings of government are civil servants, meant to be distinctly different from athletes who are dedicated only to winning one for the team.
Politicians should be dedicated to serving people; people other than themselves. When the life of a candidate demonstrates this trait, he naturally appears suited for office. Absent this predisposition, it’s not unfair to abstain from lending support.
The ability to assess an individual candidate’s grasp of complex issues, gauge one’s character and determine one’s honesty requires us all, as citizens in a democracy, to be willing to face facts in an unbiased, intelligent fashion. When we citizens fail to employ intellect in our judgments, we become emotional, like arguing children. This failing leaves a void, dangerously inviting fulfillment by despots and demigods who prey upon our fears, irrational judgments, prejudices and ignorance.
What’s unfair in politics is the attack-dog mentality that reduces the national conversation to a series of shouting matches and insults, fostering a stubborn immovability characteristic of people unwilling to confront the challenges necessary to make evaluations unrestrained by ideological dogmas. Seeing people fall back on party identity and ideology in support of politicians, I sometimes feel like the electorate in our country has collectively adopted the Scarecrow’s refrain from “The Wizard of Oz” – “if I only had a brain.”