‘Survivor’ method is one way to choose Presidential candidate
I am caught in a Catch 22 of sorts. Just like Yossarian in the novel ‘Catch 22,’ written by Joseph Heller, I am entangled in a paradox. Here is the conundrum that Heller proposes. Any wartime air bombardier who wishes to be excused from combat flight duty because of the danger to his life and limb must submit to his commander a medical diagnosis from the squadron surgeon demonstrating that he is unfit for duty because of insanity. However, any sane person would naturally not want to perform combat missions because of that very danger. By requesting permission not to fly for these reasons and claiming insanity, the bombardier demonstrates that he is in fact sane and is therefore fit to fly missions. Heads I win, tails you lose. That is called a double bind.
Here is my dilemma. I must, as a member of a democratic system of government, cast a vote for President in the upcoming election in November. In our system, men and women can decide to promote themselves as possible candidates for this office. Striving after the office of President of the United States means you want to be the most powerful person on Earth: a person who wants to be responsible for pushing the button that can annihilate the world, a person who wants the option to send other people’s children off to war and possible death, chooses job over family, chooses job over home community, wants to spend their life always in the eye of the media, and doesn’t mind making small talk to strangers until the cows come home. Politicians have enormous boredom thresholds.
Obviously, these people want, need, even crave power. That is a little scary. I sort of wonder what they are interested in proving either to themselves, their distant judging father, tyrannical pushing mothers or some bully in the fourth grade.
So here’s the rub: How can I vote for someone like this?
Looking at it this way, you have to realize that our candidates are at best a little nuts and at worst power hungry potential demi-gods. Plus the fact that a democracy makes the whole process of self-advancement even more bizarre: ‘Vote for me because I am capable of taking care of a situation that is not even conceivable to any of the rest of you.’ How can I vote for someone who believes and says out loud such an outlandish statement?
When I listen to the campaign speeches of the candidates, it is almost an insult that they expect us to believe their rhetoric. No one person can sort out this mess in four years. If they really believe they are capable of this high-flying schmaltz, then they are touched in the head and I cannot vote for them. Consequently, I am waiting for a candidate who appears to be sane and realizes that he or she is not a superhero.
That person must make statements like, ‘I will try my best to end this war with our government still solvent and Iraq refrained from a genocidal holocaust, but I have no clue how that can be done.’ That’s OK. No one else does either.
What if they said, ‘I think all of you are entitled to a good doctor or drug of your choice when you need it without mortgaging your home. But I’m only one person going up against the AMA, Merck and the insurance industry. Lobby your Congressman every hour for the next month.’
I’d love to hear a candidate with an honest assessment of our educational system. ‘Yes, I agree it isn’t working. But I won’t throw good money after bad, and I also won’t play the blame game. Until the country, meaning all of us, begins caring about all black, white and brown children, and not just your own, nothing will improve here.’
Talk about a reality show! What a shocker to be told the unvarnished truth for a change. These statements will never be heard on CNN. This country loves to pretend that all our problems will be taken care of by one man or one woman. We love to watch fantasy, and that is what our election process has become.
Be that as it may, I still must choose the lesser of two evils and place my vote for one of these candidates. For whatever reason, these people are willing to take on an impossible job under ridiculous circumstances, and Lord knows I don’t want to do it.
So since we are speaking of reality shows, I think maybe that is my way out of this conundrum. I’ll take a page from ‘Survivor’ and instead of voting for a candidate, I will use the upcoming political season and vote someone off now and then, until I am left with only one who will get my vote such as it is.
In a perfect democracy, you should be able to vote for your candidate and not against all the others. But no system is perfect and, in this world, a democratic form of government is the one getting the highest ratings of all the reality shows running.