Our Wretched Ways

“I find it damning that I can both love someone as a person walking this earth with me and yet despise their ideals. Politics is subverted because we are.”

We blame our response on the system itself as if we did not actively create it or passively nod as we inherited it. Few of us find this to be what gives us comfort or represents the best in us. Most of us scowl and grow angrier at what we’ve allowed, although we might do so from opposite political spectrums. That we don’t have ten distinct political powers is the single biggest issue we face; such fragmentation requires coalition and cooperation. Two-party systems destroy our ability to stop rooting for ‘us’ at the exclusion of ‘them.’

It is our system, the one we’ve allowed to remain. Acknowledging our failure is an indictment of how incapable we are of managing our affairs—failing to realize it is a charge of compassionless disregard. The constitution recognizes itself as a fluid document, just as we should see ourselves as fallible and prone to selfishness and stupidity.

If we are each not culpable, no one is.

Wandering through this year, each of us fought against our better nature. Simply put, it is not about an election. It’s about us.

We’ve failed.

No political system that culminates in a crescendo of shouts and dissonant voices like this one is a success – no matter how it turns out. The victory you might imagine will be its opposite to those who lost.

We all know that elections are supposed to be a collective handshake about the direction we choose. Words like ‘us’ mean nothing when we disagree on what ‘us’ is or how we get to raise our hands and offer opinions. Marginalizing anyone will water dissent and anger.

We learned of our shared history in school and wondered how such a young country could tear itself or reveal that its dedication to ideals could be so completely torn. Observant citizens no longer wonder; instead, they pivot and watch those around them.

No matter who wins the election, we have fundamentally exposed the facade of our imperfect system. As flawed as it is, it is merely a reflection of us.

We’re fixable. So is the system that seems to dissatisfy all of us.

Though I’m a liberal, I’ll give up all my nuanced objections if we could establish a political system designed to help people. As ignorant as I am about so much, most of us agree that what we have is unworkable and increasingly worse.

If we don’t devise an intelligent way to find a system that serves us better, entropy and chaos will align to assign us as a footnote to an avoidable disaster.

2020 had its issues before involving a national election. How many of us can survive a repeat of this for the rest of our lives? We will lose the ability to engage in public policy and how to manage it.

Unlike many, I’m not foolishly offering solutions. If we can’t get there from here, we’re in trouble.

Breaking the entire system will result in something no one will enjoy.

Since we seem to be there already, I suggest we try something different.

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