Gongol.com Archives: August 2016
The LA Times editorial board met with former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson about his candidacy for the White House on the Libertarian Party ticket. From the headline and some of the questions, it appears that some members of the board miss the point altogether: Casting Johnson and his running mate (former Massachussetts governor William Weld) as spoilers to the Republican and Democratic tickets neglects that this is a real "black swan" of an election. The nomination of Donald Trump isn't a philosophical victory or a win for any defined wing of the Republican Party -- it's much more like a hostile virus taking over its host. Trump isn't a Republican in any traditional sense of the word, and his behavior is openly hostile to the party and the interests of other Republicans who will be on the ballot in November. That alone would make this an exceptional election -- but the farce on the Republican side has drawn attention away from the fact that the Democratic Party nearly fissured in two over its own outsider invasion -- Sen. Bernie Sanders has never self-identified as a Democrat, and he gave an aggressive chase after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Democratic race was much closer than it should have been by any conventional standards. So here we are, with an establishment candidate on the Democratic side who had to run the race of her life, a thin-skinned and short-tempered populist (and functionally illiterate) third-party candidate masquerading as a Republican, and a third-party ticket that contains two former Republican governors with four terms in office between them. The Libertarian Party has never had a more mainstream ticket, and it quite likely never will again. And in this bizarre election year, treating them as "spoilers" is unfair and unrealistic. The normal rules simply don't apply in 2016 -- not when a sitting President looks at a major-party candidate and openly says he's unqualified for the job.
The municipal utility in Cedar Falls is saluting Roger Kueter, an outgoing board member with more than twenty years of service to his credit. What we too often overlook in America is how much we are defined not by the people at the top of our political system, but by the people who keep the economy and government both functioning on a local level. Everyone has an opinion on who should be in the White House, but arguably it matters far more to most people's day-to-day lives who is running things in City Hall or at the local utility. Who knows what Roger Kueter's opinions are on the hot-button issues of the day? Maybe he's outspoken on them, or maybe he's not. But he's been serving an important role at a major community institution for two decades, and his hot-button opinions don't matter much when he's responsible for helping his community to (literally) keep the lights on. We ought to do a better job of celebrating the lower-profile roles that really make America work. It's easy to envy highly-paid roles on corporate boards, but we need to honor those who put their services to work on a smaller, more local scale.
An unusual friendship develops (regrettably, featuring a sad ending)
Selling out before the situation becomes untenable
Should anyone be surprised?