If the headline is not enough of an indication as to where I stand on the political front, then the issue is bigger than initially thought. There is a problem with politics and political figures in America and the issue is much larger than what Donald Trump said he grabbed 20 years ago or where exactly the trash can folder is that contains Hillary Clinton’s emails.
As a country, we have failed ourselves at the polls. Since the turn of the 20th century, there has not been a single presidential election year in which more than roughly 65 percent of Americans have made their voices heard at a polling location. A fact that is even more putrid in the 21st century. Since 2000, there has not been a year in which even 60 percent of freethinking Americans have exercised his or her right to elect the leader of the free world.
According to the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, approximately 54.9 percent of American voters submitted a ballot in 2012.
What that means, to this editor at least, is that approximately 45.1 percent of Facebook users, Tweeters, picketers and rowdy uncles at the family gatherings across the nation declined their right to complain about the situation we are in now.
The truth is, the citizens of the United States of America have two candidates in which to choose from that are a direct representation of our joint involvement within the political process. Neither is worth a damn. I think well more than 54.9 percent of the country can agree with that.
Yes, I understand there are two other candidates, but as someone with a degree in the political process, there are only two with a real chance at a January inauguration.
So how did we get to this point? To a point where we are faced with having to choose “which candidate is less terrible?”
In 2012, 14 students with the Tarleton State College Republicans ascended on Virginia Beach in hopes of swinging a swing state red. According to the official voting totals from the City of Virginia Beach, the ticket of John McCain/Sarah Palin edged Barrack Obama/Joe Biden in 2008, 49.85 percent to 49.14.
Our task was to at least match those numbers. For the five days leading up to the Nov. 6 election, we canvassed the city. Between Ryan Gilbert and I, we knocked on somewhere between 7,500-9,000 doors, passing “competitors” from other campaigns and catching “No Solicitation” at the very last minute all along the way.
We then worked the Mitt Romney rally in Newport News, Virginia where Romney stated, “Not four more years, just four more days.” On Election Day, armed with hand warmers and all of the winter clothes we could afford at Wal-Mart, two Texas residents made a last ditch effort to sway whatever votes we could while outside of a precinct voting headquarters. In the rain. While we could see our breath. For 12-straight hours.
We took part in the process that our forefathers fled, bled and signed for, and the good guys won 99,291 votes to 94,299 (50.24-47.95 percent).
As much as your Facebook friends would like to think otherwise, the POTUS is not going to be decided on social media. All of the witty hashtags in the world are not going to equal one, single vote.
The WDL endorsement of Donald Trump is not an endorsement of his actions while a camera was rolling during his time as a reality TV star. Nor is it an endorsement of some of the things he has said while those same cameras were turned to him during his run for the Republican nomination.
We have also not disregarded the acts of deceit, or potentially treason, that Clinton has accumulated over the last who-knows-how-many years. The fact that her swindling of mainstream media led Pope Francis to ask Catholics to pray “that journalist, in carrying out their work, may always be motivated by respect for truth and a strong sense of ethics,” should serve as a wake-up call as good as any.
The system is broken, and there is no one else to blame but us. Get out from behind the keyboard and block walk or phone bank or whatever means necessary to make your voice heard before Election Day. But for the love of country, vote.
Otherwise, stop harassing those of us who take part in the process. Although I cannot remember exactly which professor it was, a professor at Tarleton State University once said, "if you don’t vote, you can’t bitch." Here’s to Paul Ryan in 2020.
Travis M. Smith is the managing editor for the Waxahachie Daily Light. He can be reached at (469) 517-1470 or followed on Twitter @Travis5mith.