Freedom To Lose

December 14, 2011
By Mitchell T. Zink

Name the declared Republican candidates for the 2012 presidency. At best, most people would count around 7 or so, a respectable number in and of itself. You probably thought Romney, Cain (or what’s left of him), Gingrich, Bachmman, Perry, Paul and maybe even Huntsman and Santorum. Nonetheless, you would still be missing more than half of the declared candidates even with those named above. Is this the fault of the average American, supposedly ignorant to the world around them, or is there some greater conspiracy being conducted against both you the voter and those other potential candidates?

You may have watched a debate or two; perhaps saw snippets on youtube of Perry ruining his campaign or other comedic failures between lackluster individuals. You may have sat there as I have, mouth agape, with one lucid thought floating around in your mind: “Is this it?” Is this really the best that the Grand Old Party can put together to run against Barack Obama?

This seems more like a kindergarten class than a presidential election and I’m expecting an elephant with juice and cookies to soon appear. There must be someone else, someone who can encompass my views and has a track record of success that I so long for in a viable president yet who has been snubbed by those in charge of these debates.

It was around the middle of summer where I decided to analyze the political viewpoints of each candidate, study their past and attempt to make a choice for my endorsement. After a long and arduous process (I Googled a presidential candidate quiz), I realized that former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was the right guy for me. He had all the qualities I wanted in a leader, a successful businessman like Cain, a proactive politician like Perry, held an executive position when in office (they say governors make better presidents than congressman because of this experience), has libertarian views like Paul (but not as old) and a slew of other stances that just made him perfect for me. Yet now, looking back since then, out of 13 debates, Gary Johnson has only been invited to 2 of these, the latter of which on September 22nd he performed incredibly well. Why is this candidate, and so many others, being ignored by the American people?

It’s not entirely our fault. We love a good fight and we love a good show packed with action, drama, intrigue, laughs, etc. It’s just in our nature to enjoy exceptional and risqué events as they take away the mundane boredom that is our typical life. To say the least, I’m sure if you polled a group of Americans and asked them if their lives were boring most would say yes. The question that blossoms from this is how can someone capitalize on this boredom? The mass media produces sitcoms, reality television, talk radio, etc. in an attempt to capitalize on this boredom and turn a massive profit. It’s a simple ethos of “Greed is Good.” Yet after a decade of shows like Survivor, the media have realized a way to apply the same principles of voting people off islands into voting candidates off elections.

For instance, take the recent case of Herman Cain, whom only weeks before was considered the front runner for the Republican ticket. Here is a businessman with no real political experience to speak of, tossing his hat into a race and suddenly rising up from an unprecedented wave of support only to be thrown on the shore by revelations of numerous acts of infidelity. For two weeks now this has been the main focus of the election, the unprecedented moral corruption of this once solid individual. Why?

Seriously, why? Haven’t we done this dance before? First and foremost, why is Cain prolonging his fall from grace? Does he really think that he has a chance and can make a comeback? He’s done. Further still, why is the media ballooning this into front page news? What of the stances of the other candidates on things like war and death and the economy? Are those too bland and boring and simply won’t sell airtime and print? I’d like to know the positions of the other thirteen candidates as the women Cain sleeps with really won’t matter when I’m trying to get a job in a few months.

Now I’m not going to blast the media and say that all the networks have a conspiracy against the other candidates. Instead, I’m going to leave it up to the audience to decide who is at fault here. There are other candidates, other views points that are worth at least the acknowledgement of their existence by both the media and by proxy the American voter. We deserve better. The media is supposed to be fair and balanced while presenting all the news that’s fit to print, not just some of the news, not just some of the candidates. I love politics, but I love democracy more than this game. I want what’s best for this nation and I want the freedom to choose who will lead us back to greatness. What we have now is the freedom to lose.

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