This political moment

It’s difficult not to say something about the political moment of the U.S. Presidential election. Earlier this year I wrote briefly about its symmetry.

The media coverage has been mostly fantasies about what a king or queen would do rather than an actual president with enumerated powers. The low-information voter has almost nothing but fantasy to go on.

People are eager not only for the election to be over (the political ads, the mudslinging, the exaggerations and falsehoods) but to undo this year, as if it has turned out all wrong and needs a retake.

There are few bumper stickers this year. People are not excited about their candidate, even if they have a candidate. Others aren’t saying, and maybe don’t know, and perhaps won’t know until they enter the voting booth.

It’s worth thinking some about how this happened. It’s easy to blame them — the politicians, the parties, the mass media, etc. But it comes back to We the people. We have met the enemy and they are us.

An election with bad candidates concentrates the mind. The choice between Bad A and Bad B requires more wisdom than the choice between Sorta Ok A and Sorta Not Ok B.

It doesn’t makes sense to ask which candidate people like. It’s not about like anymore. People wouldn’t want to spend time alone with either candidate.

What issues there are are mostly about party ideology, so individual candidates matter less. The right to be born. Religious freedom. The role of  government. Health care. Jobs. Foreign affairs.

It’s becoming clear that the election won’t do what elections are supposed to do: dissipate public tension. Polarization will continue, even get worse after the election.

It’s hard to be optimistic about America today. People with a variety of opinions have been remarking about the moral decline of the nation for some time. Now it’s too obvious to think otherwise.