Cheap Seats 2016
Decision Point - 10/19
By Rich Trzupek
Our future is in your hand Generation X. Good luck!
If you, like me, have been walking the earth for more than fifty years, have a real, productive job and are possessed of that member of which what used to be known as the male gender are so proud, you’re probably voting for Trump.
If you are under thirty and it makes you furious to think that anyone should attempt to label you as a particular gender based on the entirely random evidence of the equipment you actually carry – or not – between your legs, you’re likely voting for Hillary.
In between, we’ve got that huge chuck of voters aged 30 to 50, which we will generically refer to as Generation X, who are struggling to figure out where they fit ideologically and how to best make their ideological vision come true.
This column is for you.
If you’re part of Gen X, you are likely on the fence. You’re thinking that both of the two major parties have abandoned you. You’re right. They have. The problem then becomes which of two paths do you choose: 1) attempt to fix what I perceive is wrong with the major party that I lean toward, or 2) attempt to express my displeasure with the current “two party system” so as to encourage the establishment and growth of alternatives.
I can hear ya Gen X. Because I like ya, I suspect most of you really, REALLY want to choose option 2. I don’t blame ya. My – baby boomer – generation has let you down. The current kurfuggle is entirely our fault. But, before you begin trotting down a different path, allow me to offer a few thoughts.
Understand that you are in a transitional phase of looking at the world that everybody goes through. When you’re younger, you really want to believe that there are simple solutions to everything. As you grow older and get more experience in the way the world actually works, you come to realize that simple solutions are usually stupid solutions and, among the stupidest of simple solutions is the idea that somebody else should take primary responsibility for taking care of a person’s problems and obligations – especially if that somebody is the lurching, inefficient, self-important beast that is government.
You know that government has its uses, but by the time you hit your age you’ve experienced enough examples of intransient bureaucratic idiocy and partisan pandering to know that government needs to be kept on a very short leash. You know that there is a heavy price to pay whenever one chooses government over personal responsibility.
The way that realization has traditionally occurred has moved a great many voters in your age group from what we consider the more “liberal” party to the more “conservative” party at the time. Although, when soberly considered, those labels have not always been accurate. Lincoln was the real liberal in the election of 1860, while Douglas and Breckinridge were the conservatives. But, in general and absent a soul-tearing issue like slavery, voters generally become more conservative over time.
We have now reached something of a tipping point. While style has always been more important in American politics compared to substance, the balance has drastically changed in our modern information age. Modern elections are not even remotely won and lost by the qualifications and positions of the candidates. Modern elections are won and lost by the ability of each candidates’ team of handlers to convince voters that their opponent is an evil/crazy/sick bastard. Polls conclusively prove that negative campaigning about one’s opponent is far, far more effective than positive campaigning about one’s self.
Team Hillary and Team Trump both understand the way the game is played, without question. Team Hillary has two advantages: more money to push attacks and the complicity of the mainstream media (MSM) in delivering/supporting those attacks. Thus Team Hillary can, has and will deliver more attacks than Team Trump and those attacks will be given the veneer of legitimacy by the supposedly unbiased MSM.
Trump won the GOP nomination because he consciously chose to break from “politics as usual”. He wasn’t the person his PR advisors told him to be and he didn’t present his positions in politically-correct terms. He was the person he actually was and he talked about issues in ways that might offend, might attract or might do anything in-between, but he was giving us the person he actually is, not the persona his handlers had created.
The artificial outrage about the way Trump referred to female genitalia in a decade-old tape is a singular example of the hypocrisy that infects modern American politics. If the number of Americans who have solely and exclusively used the word “pussy” to describe feline house pets and/or characters in the Bond film “Goldfinger” were required to vote for Hillary, while those Americans who have used the term in any other way were required to vote for Trump, the Donald would win the Presidency in the biggest landslide in history. (Include me among that latter group, not being a hypocrite and all…)
Gen-X you have a choice. If you are equally disgusted with Team Hillary and Team Trump, as I am sure many of you are, you can vote for Stein or Johnson and congratulate yourself for having voted your conscience. I get that and I am ultimately OK with that. Not voting for a candidate as corrupt and conniving, yet as powerful, as Hillary is commendable and not being willing to risk it all on a rebellious candidate like Trump is understandable.
Many of you will choose not to vote for Trump, because though you want to deliver a protest vote, you don’t want that protest vote to benefit a candidate you believe to be as deeply flawed as the mainstream candidate and the anti-mainstream candidate the big parties have offered. You’ll vote for Johnson or Stein and you’ll justify that vote as a vote against the system, in the hope that if enough anti-system votes appear the system will change.
I get that, but I respectfully disagree. The system will only change when the practitioners change their focus. I’m voting for Trump not because I think he’s the ideal candidate, but because I: 1) want to deliver the message to both parties that I’m sick and tired of the PR game of getting us to vote for image/poll-numbers rather than a person, and 2) I don’t believe that the reality of Trump is anything close to the legend of Trump that the mainstream wings of both entrenched parties and the media have worked so hard to create. For me, he’s not a savior, he’s a wake-up call.
Fortunately for me, I’m old enough to understand that the choice is not mine, it’s yours. Best of luck my young friends – vote with your hearts.