Monday, October 31, 2016

There’s always next year - but not for us

As I write this, the world of baseball is preparing for a massive celebration in one Midwestern city as another will be mired in misery for at least another year. Candidates across the United States are facing a similar fate — either they win or they lose on November 8th and the day will either go down in their personal histories as a good day or a bad one. In many races the voters are ambivalent about who they elect, particularly in local races where they may be choosing between neighbors or long-time acquaintances in a small town.

In the race for President, feelings are not as friendly and there is no lack of passion among the supporters of the two candidates. This race has gone beyond the most unrealistic movie script that could have been written and now has hit upon every -ism and many words not okay to print. Stories on the campaign include charges of treason, espionage, infidelity, voter fraud and money laundering. At this point, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction and I have to believe that many voters are so disgusted that they are committed to sitting out this election. It’s a sad state of affairs when both candidates have a more than 50% unfavorable rating. That’s right - as of this writing, 59% of those polled had an unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump and 53.4% had an unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton.

If voters are so inclined, they can also write in a candidate for President — or any office. It’s fun to go back and look at what candidates are written in each year. There are always those who lost in the primary and we can expect many to write in Bernie Sanders and Mitt Romney this year. Daffy Duck and Mickey Mouse are perennial vote getters along with None of the Above. I think Tom Brady might be a good choice this year.

If it’s any consolation, there are some interesting local races and ballot initiatives in Rhode Island, so there’s still a reason to show up. I have been impressed with the number of local races that are contested and with the spirited — but good-natured — debate that has ensued. I will add a shameless plug for the ethics reform campaign I’ve been working on and ask people to approve question 2. It gives the Ethics Commission oversight of the General Assembly and allows it to investigate and prosecute violations of the Code of Ethics. If ever there was an issue that we can all agree on, I think it’s this one: Rhode Island deserves a more ethical government. I am hoping it can win with at least 75%.

For baseball teams, players and their fans, there’s always next year. Next year brings another 162 games of opportunity and the chance to win it all. It will be no solace for the fans of the Indians or the Cubs but there is at least the hope for redemption. No such luck for the American electorate. Barring a resignation or impeachment, we’ve got four long years of acrimony, anxiety and anger until we have a chance to make a change in the White House. Let’s make the best of it.

Don’t forget to vote!

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