Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable. —John Kenneth Galbraith
My newsfeed is full of comments,articles, statements, and quotes regarding last night’s Presidential debate. I’m doing my best to ignore as much of it as possible. I was having hot chocolate and cherry pie while the debate was occurring, enjoying time with family. I went to bed before the debate was over. I slept well, not giving a second thought to either candidate.
With a field of candidates more unlikeable and unqualified than we’ve ever seen, the intelligent move would have been to shut down the conversations, ignore the buffoonery, and focus on issues we could actually change for the positive. Apparently, we’re not that smart. From the very beginning, we went for the clown show, laughing at how absurd it all was. Our constant attention encouraged even more stupidity and it grew to the point we now have a circus that is nothing more than really bad slapstick.
Meanwhile, there are really important things going on in the world. There are probably thousands of things I could list that are more important than politics, but we’ve narrowed the list to five in hopes that maybe someone will actually pay attention this time. Take a look.
The death toll is over 1,000 in Haiti now. Cholera is beginning to sweep the island, which could kill more than Hurricane Matthew did. Rural areas, once again the hardest hit, are in desperate need of help with the most basic of necessities, such as clean water and sanitation. If you live anywhere in the United States, even if you are homeless, you are better off than the people of Haiti at this moment.
Calls for help are, of course, going out, but one thing we learned from the aftermath of the earthquake there three years ago is that the government is so incredibly corrupt and cares so very little for its people that very little aid actually gets to the people who need it. By some accounts, as much as 90 percent of aid sent to Haiti never reached its intended destination. Instead, it was hoarded by government leaders who used aid funds to line their own pockets.
What do we do? I don’t know. There’s no aid that does not have to go through government channels.While NGOs such as the Red Cross and the UN are doing their best, what we are seeing so far is a repeat of the disaster from three years ago. Haiti’s government doesn’t care if people die. Only a full-scale takeover of the government gets people the assistant they need, and no one is going to do that. The people of Haiti are screwed.
Meanwhile, the death toll from Hurricane Matthew in the US is at 17. That story is buried in most newspapers this morning, too. I had to hunt for it.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize last week for his efforts to end the long civil war in his country. Some were surprised that he won despite an election that turned away an agreement that would have ended the conflict. Yet, the Nobel committee chose to acknowledge his efforts, saying that the election results were out of his control.
The monetary piece of the Nobel Prize is 8 million Swedish krona, which, based on this morning’s exchange rate, is just under a million dollars US. That much money buys a lot in Colombia and President Santos had many options. Politics being what they are, no one would have been too surprised had Santos chosen to put the money behind something that would benefit him politically. Instead, he chose to give it to those most affected by the ongoing war.
With the peace agreement having been shot down by voters and a cease-fire set to expire this week, fears in Colombia are mounting. The rural people have that country have been especially hard hit. Yet, unlike the situation in Haiti, they have a President who, at least on the surface, seems to care.
Food is so much more important than politics. With the weather having cooled off, we can once again turn our attention to the savory and flavorful dishes that not only fill us but keep us warm. I made my first pot of chili for the season last night and will probably do some manner of veggie stew later this week.
Is stew actually better than steak, though? Really?
Think about that question for a moment. Think of the variety, the flavors, the options one has with stew that simply doesn’t exist with steak. If I prepare a steak for dinner, I have to be careful to choose just the right cut of meat, prepare it in just the right way with a limited group of appropriate spices, and pray that I’m not distracted and ruin it by cooking it a touch too long.
Stew, on the other hand, is a rainbow food. Toss at it whatever’s left over in the fridge, or what you’re still pulling from your garden. Maybe you add meat, maybe you don’t (though, by definition, most stew at least has a meat stock base). One can get really fancy with the ingredients, or one can play it loose and adventuresome. Making a bad stew is almost impossible. Oh, and cutting the meat into chunks also makes it more tender and flavorful, something you can’t do with a steak.
See? So much more important than what the Republican called the Democrat.
Tonight is game 3 of the National League playoffs, Cubs vs. Mets. The Cubs took the first two games. They have a talented pitching staff. The bats have worked when they were needed. The Cubs could sweep the Mets tonight.
Politics? Who needs politics when there is a more than reasonable chance that the Chicago Cubs could end up in the World Series for the first time in 108 years?
I have to admit, it has been interesting to watch the playoff coverage in the Chicago Tribune. They have been so very careful to not get too excited, to not be overly positive, to not give the Cubs any undue credit. We’ve been down this road before: the Cubs make the playoffs but can’t seal the deal. To be a Cubs fan is to spend every October crying into your beer.
Yet, this year, with this team, things could be different. Maybe. Just maybe.
Okay, this is sort of political. Although, politics aren’t the only reason we vote. Duty, commitment, love of our country, and an obligation to participate in our government are why we vote. Politics are merely an annoying side effect, rather like anal leakage.
Voting is always more important that the politics surrounding your vote. There are too many people in our country who would take votes away from people whose voice needs to be heard. If you have the ability to vote, you have a moral obligation to do so. This is the way our country was designed to work. You not voting is exactly the same as Congress spending roughly two-thirds of the year on vacation: neither are doing what the country needs us to do.
No, voting doesn’t make the politics go away. Sometimes, the politics get worse. We are such an ideologically diverse country that our passion sometimes gets in the way of doing what is right.
Voting is not an endorsement of a candidate. Voting is saying to those elected, “Hey, I’m a citizen. My life matters. And I’m watching you.”
If you are not registered to vote, do so now.