Abraham Lincoln once said, “if America is Gotham City, then Hillary is the mob and Trump is The Joker… America, picking between The Joker and the mob is not a real choice. It’s time to vote for freaking Batman.” The problem is, Gary Johnson is no Batman. Gary Johnson has a hard enough time getting in the spotlight, let alone stealing it from those on whom it’s shining. Batman, on the other hand, managed to hijack Superman’s sequel,
If you can’t get excited about your plan, Amanda, how do you expect anyone else to?
spearhead the League that will bust proverbial blocks in years to come, and bookend a quaint little tale about Task Force X and prop it up with a chunk of his rouges gallery. There’s not much about which I agree with our 16th President (that’s a subject for whole other site probably,) but I do agree that in these times we seem to be continually choosing between villains and, at best, anti-heroes. Our reasoning is varied, but for most of us it boils down to some permutation of Amanda Waller’s logic when assembling the Suicide Squad: we want to build a team of some very bad people, who we think can do some good.
We’d like a Superman or a Batman, but since neither has risen to our attention, we work with what we have: flawed candidates that may not check off every box on our list, but who may be able to accomplish some of what we want done, and at any rate are certainly better than the alternative. The problem in this thinking is that it twists our perspective. It’s supposedly pragmatic. Play the hand you’re dealt rather than fold until you get a Royal Flush. Play them right and you may just take the pot with nothing but a pair of twos. Better to have a chance at winning than a guaranteed loss, especially since you’ve got to pay your ante either way. By paying your ante, though, you’ve already lost. You’ve already invested in a game of chance and are hoping against hope that you come out ahead, gearing all your strategy toward mitigating that chance. But government is not a game. It’s not a winner take all contest. It’s the exercise our God given freedom, for which there is no ante (or at least shouldn’t be one; Thanks 16th Amendment!)
When we think of elections in terms of winning and losing, we project the outcome on our own fortunes. The other candidate wins and we personally have lost. Voting become an act of self preservation rather than the one of the highest privileges civilization has to offer. Once this value is compromised others follow suit. With the stakes so high, we start pulling out all the stops. Soon we find ourselves voting for proven (if not indicted) criminals or opportunistic egomaniacs. We, like Waller, see a world filled with dangerous, powerful villains and not a Superman in sight. So we, like Waller, resign ourselves to trying to put a leash on the least objectionable of them in hopes that they’ll crowd out the really bad ones. By this point, our perspective is so distorted that we’ve become part of the problem and we don’t even see it.
She’s just dancing to distract you from how nonsensical her “machine” is.
Waller, in her latest big screen rendition (I know we all try to forget 2011’s Green Lantern,) wasn’t just part of the problem– she was the problem. Her perverted attempt at doing good actually resulted in a net loss of good. Every life lost at the hand/projectile tentacle of Incubus or as a result of the strangely unerotic gyrations of Enchantress was a direct result of Waller’s failed judgement. When faced with the fallout from her supposedly pragmatic gambit, she calls out her newly minted Skwad, not to thwart the destruction of the planet, but to pull her from the fire. When all was said and done, a city lay in ruin, apocalyptic desolation narrowly averted, and for what? So a few bad apples can kinda be redeemed and almost have a surrogate family?
So too has our collective quadrennial/biennial capitulation led to a worsening of the very system we love to hate. Every time we vote for the lesser of two evils, we actually aid and abet the degradation of our freedom. We accept, not only that things are bad, but that they are going to continue getting worse, if only at a slower pace than they could have. We accept that the lowest common denominator–fear–is running the show. This sort of idealistic talk is usually countered with the conventional wisdom that a vote of conscience or third party is a vote discarded. To this I say that a vote is not a say in how a government should be mishandled. It is a say in how a government should be run. If one votes for the enemy of one’s enemy, that, my friends, is a vote thrown away.
It is throwing in the towel on the basic premise of our government: self determination. It’s the acceptance that our founding principles might as well be on the ash heap of history already, and with them we’ll go ahead and throw our integrity for good measure. It’s the philosophy that we all abhor in theory but many of us apply in practice: the ends justify the means. Convinced that victory is paramount, we compromise not only who we are willing to accept in office, but what we are willing to accept as truth. We begin to mold our beliefs–our values–around whatever is expedient for our chosen party in a given election cycle. Democrats turn a blind eye to Hillary’s–at best–gross negligence or–at worst–purposeful mishandling of state secrets and the subsequent undeniable obstruction of justice to cover it up, when 9 years earlier they cheered the conviction of Scooter Libby for nothing more than failing to remember details of conversations 4 years prior. Republicans are quick to concede that legitimate concerns they held for years–that Obama’s hesitancy to definitively prove his citizenship could signal something afoul of Article 2, Section 1, or that his personal history and autobiography could point to an allegiance to Islam over the United States–did indeed reflect every negative accusation Democrats claimed, simply because it looks bad that Hillary’s ’08 campaign floated them first.
That rank and file Republicans and Democrats are shamefully entrenched is no great revelation to anyone, but why the disrespect for Johnson?
Does this guy even WANT to be elected?
He and the Libertarian Party are the answer to every concern raised in this post, are they not? Did I not just post that we’re all libertarian at heart, and isn’t this post saying that our hearts rather than out heads should guide our vote? To ask this is to confuse libertarian ideals with the Libertarian Party platform. Small “l” libertarians–at least those who consider the taking of innocent life to be murder and have a modicum of value for consistency of thought–regard abortion as a flagrant violation to our vaunted, inalienable right to life. Big “L” Libertarians buy the fiction that a wholly distinct body, with unique human DNA, that happens to be temporarily dependant on another, is somehow less than human and therefore subject to a woman’s inexplicable, tenuously constitutional right to privately terminate life. Small “l” libertarians regard a person’s sexuality as irrelevant to the legitimate proceedings of government institutions. Big “L” Libertarians believe that a person’s highly suspect protection under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 supersedes another’s constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of conscience.
I don’t purport to know anyone’s reasoning but my own, but I can make an educated guess that these ideologically inconsistent planks of the Libertarian platform are calculated to attract key progressive demographics to an otherwise conservative movement. That Libertarians would be willing to selectively undercut the bedrock principles of their party for a fleeting electoral advantage is every bit as egregiously hypocritical as anything the Democrats or Republicans can muster. That they would continue to insult voters’ individuality by pandering to superficial divisions rather than present a vision of universal freedom that appeals across our petty difference is too nauseatingly politics-as-usual to consider them anything but politicians who say what we want to hear but do something altogether different.
How’s that workin’ out for you, Harv?
If America is Gotham City, Governor Johnson is no Dark Knight. He isn’t Alfred, Nightwing, or Snotty-Come-Lately Damien Wayne. He isn’t even a stalwart ally like Gordon. He’s Harvey Bullock, someone who’s heart is in the right place, but is so steeped in the corruption he’s trying to fix that he can’t help but be mired in the same old shenanigans that are the hallmarks of the everything that needs to change. But Bullock, you say, isn’t all bad. Fair enough, but he’s old school enough to think that Batman is the problem, that the same tactics that have led to so much corruption can somehow be harnessed for good.
So am I seriously saying we should hold out for a perfect candidate, to wait to cast a vote until a Batman grapples into the picture? No. I’m saying Gotham didn’t become corrupt for lack of a Batman. It became corrupt for lack of courage and integrity amongst its citizenry, because the people tolerated the incremental advancement of crime and the degradation of morality, and resigned themselves to a compromised government that increasingly blurred the lines between the criminal element and the authorities. Batman was simply the first to decide he’d had enough, and until more Gothamites follow his example he’ll just keep pulling up criminals like weeds and for all his efforts and acumen nothing will change. I’m saying every election is the most important election of our lives, that every vote counts. Will you continue to vote for Gotham as usual, or will you vote your conscience and gear up for whatever that entails? Will you remember that the Bat Signal is only visible when the forecast calls for dark and overcast skies?
Don’t look now, but they’re shining your signal.