Imagine a darkened board room lit by a solitary lamp over an enormous and horrifically expensive table.
Around its gold-gilt circumference are seated decrepid old bodies. They might be Republicans or Democrats, Republicats or Demoblicans. It doesn’t matter — the point is that they are establishment. Political money. Hand-shakers. Influence brokers. Nouveau oligarchists.
The question of the day for these power-hoarders is not, “How are we going to win the votes?” The question is, “How are we going to keep the voters away?”
I’m not prone to conspiracy theories. But I do feel, watching the 2016 presidential election unfold, that our ballots are less-wanted than ever. Voters are in the way, an obstacle to be overcome, and (in the minds of the above) the fewer the better because a low turnout is easier to manipulate.
Political theater is nothing new. With billions of dollars at risk and candidates acting like fools on the national stage, it seems extra pains are being taken this cycle to oppress as many voters as possible. It seems those running the campaigns want us to develop election fatigue.
What could be a better explanation for Donald Trump’s painful circus of gaffes? Let’s be honest: Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and Bernie Sanders have had their down moments, but the grand laughingstock the past year and more has been Trump. Who could have believed we would collectively allow such a buffoon to sully the election process by claiming immigrants are mostly drug mules and rapists, who boasts about the size of his penis during his campaign, who not only tolerates but urges violence at his rallies, who pretends his ignorance is as valuable as your intelligence?
I know I feel blunted by the toll of watching the politi-billies knock each other over the heads with sledgehammers, as though seeking the highest office in the land is a glorified “Three Stooges” sketch.
And if I were only slightly more paranoid, I’d start to think Trump’s run is being funded by both sides of the aisle to draw attention away from the real game being played with our ideals.
The worst part is that we allow the game to play us.
I’ve seen family members scream at each other, friends part ways, and public servants boil over because of the national elections. Those aren’t rational reactions to the presidential candidates — those are signs we’ve been manipulated, frenzied, blinded by the theater of it all.
Resist that negative pressure from the parties. Read. Be open to the idea you might be wrong about your candidate. Be willing to defend them only when you have the facts. Stay strong, centered, responsible, and don’t let election fatigue keep you from voting come November.