Political Apathy

Dear Islanders,

It’s easy to hate politics. I attended a political rally for one of the presidential candidates this week. I stood there, in a packed buffet hall, waiting until my legs hurt for the key note speaker to arrive. As I waited, I listened to a seasoned collection of leather-lunged orators play hype man (and woman) for the candidate. “Are you pumped Buffalo!” one man shouted. “Sort of,” I thought, bouncing from foot to foot. No matter how loud you crank the “Are you ready for this?” track, after an hour standing even if the Beatles supernaturally appeared reunited on stage it might have felt a little anticlimactic.

So even I get tired of the political show. Anyone with even an ounce of sincerity in them would be hard pressed not to raise an eyebrow here or there—the limitless praise, the staccato bursts of rhetoric, the staged moments of dialed-back reflection. In politics, there is far too little honesty, altruistic intent, and authenticity.  

I sense the dissatisfaction with our political process.

In my lifetime I have never sensed a greater degree of dissatisfaction with the old order. That sentiment has seeped even to the local level, and is probably a significant reason why I'm in office today. And these feelings are flowing across the globe: the shocking revelations in the so-called Panama Papers have already forced the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister; the United Kingdom’s David Cameron may not be far behind. 

Thankfully in America, if you are tired of politics as usual and you are eager for something better, you have options. You can get involved. You can express yourself. And maybe most importantly you can vote.  

April 19th is a great chance to exercise your rights and vote!

The Presidential primary is on Tuesday April 19th. You might look at the presidential candidates and just cringe. Heck, sometimes I cringe. But don’t use this to justify your decision not to vote. Because even if your choice is not the greatest, there is still a choice. And your vote makes a difference. Trust me. I’m the guy who won by a handful of votes. 

I don’t see any Washingtons or Lincolns on the ballot. But I’m sure if Lincoln and Washington were here today, their weaknesses would be more evident. And it is often the case that our leaders grow to fulfill the mantle bestowed upon them. Moreover, we all make mistakes and have the occasional lapse in judgement, and we all suffer from human frailties. After all, we elect people, not demigods. In my opinion, coming across as a normal human being is a refreshing trait in a politician, especially in this era of the over-prepped sound bite. So I encourage you not to use these things as an excuse to throw away your vote. 

America only works if you vote

Don't get me wrong. I get it. Politics is a mess, and modern political theater is all a bit stale, all a bit past its “sell by date.”

But if you are tired of casual corruption and lifetime insiders, fed up with crooks and the crony capitalists, angered by political patronage and soft bureaucratic nests, and exasperated by empty words and vapid sloganeering, then make your voice heard and vote! 

There is so much negativity today. There is so much doom and gloom. But in my opinion, this is the greatest time in the history of our country. Americans have never been better educated, healthier, better informed, and more ready to work. And through advancements in technology, more of us are able to interact freely with our neighbors and friends around the globe, even with those who live in nations that were once our great enemies. Yes, there are serious challenges all around us. But it is more than a cliché to say that America’s greatest days are still ahead.

But to get to those days, we need you involved. Because if the system really is broken, it’s only broken because so few get out there and vote. 

So Democrat, Republican, or otherwise, I hope to see you at the ballot box on April 19th and at every election thereafter! Or you can just throw up your arms and go back to watching Netflix. The choice is yours. 

With highest regards,

Nate

as first appeared in the Island Dispatch