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this feels like it has the longest election cycles of my lifetime and, regardless of what happens tomorrow night, a part of me is just going to be relieved that it is — well — over.
like most Americans, a dark portion of my soul would love to overthrow the two party system, abolish the 24-hour news cycle, and/or give the electoral college its marching orders.
but, without getting overtly political, here a couple of more reasonable thoughts coming out of the last 18 months:
we must demand politicians/media stop creating facts.
i’m actually pretty centrist (at least in principle) and honestly believe that good people will make good decisions regardless of ideology. unfortunately, this notion has been plowed under as more and more people (on both sides) make up facts to suit their ideologies versus tailoring their ideologies to meet the facts.
a functioning democracy is dependant on an informed electorate — and that is undermined if the electorate is only “informed” by a bunch of falsehoods, quotes taken out of context, fake statistics and ideology driven studies.
in this way, i think the recent rise of the various media “truth squads” is a promising sign. and, while Candy Crawley is likely not going to get invited back to moderate another debate, we need more of her style “instant fact checks” from our media — not less.
if money is speech, then disclosure is the right to face our accusers.
i’m not a huge fan of limitless money in politics, but if money really is protected speach then i can make it work. but, the only way to make it work is for the thousands of deep-pocket donors to stand up and be counted along side of their money.
today, we find ourselves in the unusual situation where accused criminals have a better “due process” than our candidates up for election. criminals have the right to know our accusers, and to face (and rebut) their claims. (not to mention, they are also afforded a presumption of innocence.)
seems like our politicians deserve at least this much — and if donors aren’t willing to disclose themselves, then we need to legislate a solution that brings transparency to the new, murky world of money-as-speech political contributions.
finally, we’ve got to limit the election season.
in light of the 24-hour news cycle, we’re getting to the point where all the people we would WANT to elect are refusing to run because of the impact the eleection marathon has on themselves and their families.
to make matters worse, the 24 month cycle doesn’t even provide its supposed benefit (eg. allow us to thoroughly address issues) and instead forces us to pay attention to all sorts of silly minutia and mini-scandles that the corporate media needs to maintain our daily (hourly, minute-ly) attention.
more than that, the lengthy election season directly depresses (and suppresses) the electorate, and requires huge influxes of cash into the political campaign arms race in order for candidates to stay competitive.
were we to prohibit electioneering more than three months from the primaries, and schedule the general no more than three months after that — elections would be cheaper, less corruptible, more focused (eg. more meaningful debate) and less taxing on the public — not to mention we’d likely have better candidates to boot.
somebody please find a way to make this happen.