By the time these words are printed and read, the oh-so important presidential election will already be over. We will know whether our country will ascend to unprecedented heights of glory or plummet to the status of a developing nation. Of course, the closing of the electric campaign season means, perhaps most importantly, the end of irritating, often-misinformed tweets and Facebook statuses pertaining to elections.
On a more serious note, I think the closing of the election provides an opportune moment to reflect on the election itself. Never mind who actually wins the office, it is remarkable that it will be either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.
That few think this is an extraordinary thing is astonishing alone.
Consider there will be a third man on the ballot in most states: Gary Johnson. The Nov. 1 issue of Time magazine said Johnson is a Libertarian candidate who “wants to abolish the IRS, legalize marijuana and allow the private sector to create competing currencies.”
Does Johnson have even a remote chance of winning the election? No. Should he? Probably not. Nonetheless, it’s not as if though Johnson is completely incompetent. As the Time article explains, he won two terms as governor of New Mexico with little political experience before. He left New Mexico in 2003 with high approval ratings. To be fair, Romney has largely run on a successful gubernatorial record and businessman credentials. Johnson boasts both of those as well.
My point here is not to cheer Johnson. Rather, implore us to think about the process we use to elect the most powerful person in the world.
It is something of a mystery that a nation that prides itself on freedom restrains itself to two choices for its most important election.
We have other compelling reasons to think outside our orthodox election system. Political dissident, author and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Noam Chomsky said in a Feb. 20, 1990 interview, “The political system is a very marginal affair. There are two parties, so-called, but they’re really factions of the same party, the Business Party. Both represent some range of business interests.”
Although that was over two decades ago, perhaps we need to critically assess our elections long term. If for no other reason, at least we could see more names being thrown out in the social media world every four years. I got tired of just Romney and Obama.