Presidential elections have always been a statement on the direction of the nation. For many decades, the choice between Republican and Democrat meant slight overall differences on the path would take moving forward. Often the biggest question facing the nation was merely a choice of higher or lower taxes, with all other questions far more muted. That is no longer the case.
In 2016, the presidential election is growing to become a choice of massive changes in the nation. The choices facing the public deal with international policy, energy creation and usage, security – both from international threats and those domestic, and what rights are intrinsic to the citizens. Even the question of what is a citizen has become a factor. Thus the 2016 presidential election is a fork in the path of the nation unlike any choice previously.
As extreme as the differences are between the Democrat and Republican choices, the nation is also arguably the least prepared to understand the choices in front of them. After decades of 30 second soundbites, voter apathy, and catchy empty campaign slogans, voters are ill-prepared for the depth of the choice before them. As has been proven in petitions supporting the ban on water, various ‘person on the street’ videos, and polls presenting opposing results, the public has disconnected from politics as never before.
The result is what could be called a mass hysteria of political correctness. It’s not just that Yale professors have quit due to, as they stated on December 8, 2015,
“…the current climate at Yale is not, in my view, conducive to the civil dialogue and open inquiry required to solve our urgent societal problems.”
Nor is it that the label of racism is now so misused that everything that is not approved of is racist. One example of this extreme comes from Jay Leno – former host of the Tonight Show. Mr. Leno recently recounted his experience with the extremity we have reached as a nation,
“Like, the last year of the show when the interns come in and says, “Mr. Leno, I’m getting lunch. What do you want?” I said, “I don’t know, where are you going?” He said, “We’re getting Mexican.” I said, “I don’t really like Mexican.” He goes, “Whoa, that’s kind of racist.”
No, that’s not racist! Being anti-guacamole is not racist, okay? You have no idea what racism is. That’s not racist. You idiot. You moron.”
It’s that, as a nation, our political leaders are counting on, and abusing, the lack of civil discourse and abhorrence to anything political. A recent case in point comes from the San Bernadino shooting. This act by domestic radical Islamic terrorists has sparked once again the discussion on gun restriction legislation. President Obama, with support of Democrats and apparently a few moderate Republicans like Rep. Richard Hanna of New York, is seeking to not only ban firearms they don’t like but expansion of lists like the no-fly list to ban firearm ownership.
The use of a no-fly list to ban firearm ownership is not a new idea. Like much of the rhetoric against firearms proposed to restrict the 2nd Amendment, this is an idea that is being retreaded from the past where it failed. As stated by liberal organizations (ACLU, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Asian American Institute, and others) and news media (Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal) the no-fly list is all at once arbitrary, a violation of 5th Amendment rights, and ineffective. The no-fly list, nor any other list currently known to be used by the Government, did not contain either of the San Bernadino shooters and thus would not have prevented their act of terror on December 2, 2015.
In many ways the 2016 presidential election, and by extension all other Federal, State and local elections in the coming year, is a choice of freedoms. The freedom to speak, to own a firearm, to make choices independent of what the Government may prefer. This election could reinforce the silence some feel pressured into – like neighbors of the San Bernadino shooters, who feared being labeled racists – and/or enable the Government to attack those that speak out – as initially stated by Attorney General Loretta Lynch (before being walked back due to considerable backlash).
“Now obviously this is a country that is based on free speech, but when it edges towards violence, when we see the potential for someone lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric… They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.” – AG Lynch, December 4, 2015
“Of course, we prosecute deeds and not words.” – AG Lynch, December 7, 2015
The other option that could result from the 2016 presidential election is an America that is far more involved in the world and more aggressive in protecting citizens and their rights. That goes from the extreme of Donald Trump seeking to remove all illegal aliens and banning any Muslim immigrants (views not held by the other Republican presidential candidates) to a focus on protecting the 2nd Amendment (all the Republican candidates), varying degrees of flexibility on illegal immigration, and a focus on the economy.
Often the general public have said that elections are the choice of the lesser of evils. Even more frequently the public have opted out of voting, in a misguided belief that their vote does not matter. But for 2016, the presidential election, and all other races, requires every citizen to vote. Not being involved has brought upon the nation elected officials that has sought to transform America, without indication of what that transformation will lead to. Today we can see that transformation has been to America becoming a follower in international politics, debt-ridden almost to the point of insolvency, with chilling effect on the 1st and 2nd Amendments.
Democrats are offering a continuation on that path. No more clear indication is that a self-avowed Socialist is pushing the Party further to the Left than in any election prior. Republicans in response are pushing to the Right. It may seem extreme in comparison, but as the bipartisan appeal of Donald Trump clearly shows, is where the American people reside.
Ultimately, the American people must decide if the direction of the nation, which 63% of the nation feel is on the wrong track, will continue. If we are to take a new path as a nation, the degree of departure lies in the choice of not only which of the Republican candidates emerges as the choice, but also in who controls the Congress and governs our States.
Voter apathy is no longer an option if America is to prevail. The excuse of votes not counting is not valid. The confusion offered by some potential candidates and elected officials must be rejected, at every level of election in 2016. Only then can America be sure of the next steps we take. Anything less is a re-affirming of the political correctness and lessening of our fundamental rights that is transforming the nation into a place that is less safe and, if it dare be said, less American.