Sorry, I’m not feeling funny this week.
In seven days, we’re going to elect a megalomaniacal, hoarder of wealth built on the backs of the poor and middle class, government corrupting, utterly hate-able person as president … no matter who wins.
They’re both horrible choices, but how we ended up with the equivalents of the Sons of Anarchy tattoo removal options is even scarier because we didn’t pick them by ourselves; they were partially chosen for us by the media.
I believe Donald Trump is a serial sexual assaulter and crooked in his business dealings for the same reason that I believe Bill Cosby is a rapist: the law of averages. There are just too many accusations for all of them to be false. And by that logic, I have no choice but to believe that the Clinton Foundation is a money-laundering scheme that enriched the family by selling access to Hillary’s position as Secretary of State.
How did we get here?
Like it or not, this election boils down to the thing that divides Americans more than anything else; money.
Some have made a little and are sick of politicians using it to buy the votes of those who haven’t made any. Some have none, want some for free, and don’t care who’s footing the bill. I’m not judging those people. I know plenty who work their asses off only to slip further and further behind financially. It’s a tough world that’s only getting tougher.
But the oppressor keeping those people down is not the guy two houses over with the better job. It’s rarely even their boss. Or their boss’s boss.
I know how hard I’ve worked to get what I have. I’ve had one day off in the last seven weeks and I’m not going to get one this week, or probably the next. This is not a rare occurrence for me so I’m not complaining.
It should be easy for me to fall into the average Trump-voter mindset. But I don’t believe a word that he says. Even if I did, his views on issues ranging from international relations to the line between enjoying celebrity groupies and sexually assaulting a business colleague after a meeting are apocalyptically frightening.
Besides, if I didn’t have enough money to live, I would probably slip into the hardcore Hillary supporter mindset. I take free stuff when offered; I would sure as shit take every bit of it that I could get if I needed it to live. But I don’t believe a word that she says, either.
There are financial despots stealing every penny that they can from the working class and hoarding it. There are lifetime welfare recipients that crank out children that they can’t afford while making no effort to find jobs. If you watched the townhall-style debate this year during which Trump and Clinton talked about the laws that allow the uber-wealthy to pay zero-percent income tax, you know that it isn’t them that’s footing that bill; it’s everyone that works but can’t afford an elite tax shelter.
Trump supporters overlook his obvious flaws for one reason only: in their minds a Trump victory is the equivalent of Shane tossing the grenade in Lem’s car: it hurts like hell, but they’re that desperate to save themselves.
The same thing was happening on the Democrat’s side until the Corleones, er, Clintons, had the DNC make sure that Bernie Sanders didn’t get the nomination. I hate Bernie’s socialist views, but I believe that he’s 100-percent honest about them.
I can’t say the same for the other two, so why are they still standing?
The media covered Clinton and Trump like they were subsidizing the TV time, column inches and bandwidth. They fed us a steady diet of scandal and shameful behavior until we confused our most important civic responsibility with the phone poll at the end of the Steve Wilkos Show. Only we’re not voting on whether or not we think that Heather slept with Josh’s brother while he was in county; we’re deciding the fate of our nation. Perhaps the world.
I had a favorite candidate back when the Republican field contained roughly the same number of people as an NFL stadium at gametime. His name is George Pataki, he’s the former governor of New York, and two things made him my candidate:
- He was a successful Republican governor in one of the two most liberal states in our country.
- His answer on same-sex marriage: “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, I would have not voted for it. But it is the law, I respect the law. I don’t even understand why it should be a question.”
I’m fiscally conservative, but also so pro gay marriage that I’ve officiated a same-sex ceremony. His answer, combined with his record of success in New York, tells me that he knows how to work with both sides of a divisive issue and reach a compromise – even if his personal beliefs get trampled in the process. Shouldn’t that be what we’re all after? Solutions that benefit the most people instead elected officials and their donors?
Unfortunately, Pataki disappeared from the media and the race almost immediately because he wasn’t bombastic or controversial enough to drive headlines. You may not agree with all of his positions (I don’t), but the only thing that we have to agree on is making an honest effort to rack-up solutions for all rather than wins for “our side”.
An angry America begged for change from the tug-of-war that the 536 selfish fucks in DC play with our lives and our money. Instead, we’re left with the worst case of elective dysfunction in history, and a media sponsored choice between the knife or the fire.
Sorry, I’ll try to funny next time.
Tony Marion is a writer and filmmaker who splits time between Lancaster, PA and Baltimore, MD. He lives for the work of Descendents (the band), Chuck Palahniuk and Rian Johnson. Check out the digital embodiment of procrastination he calls his website here.