In the medical community, the term Failure to Thrive is defined as “decelerated or arrested growth or a downward trend in growth” and the cause for this medical condition is credited to inadequate nutrition.
I’ve been thinking about this term quite a bit during the past year as America heads into the quickly-approaching presidential election. I’m on Facebook nearly every day so I’ve had a ringside seat to the mudslinging, the degradation of people’s characters, and the not-really-fact-but-close-enough reporting we Americans have come to expect from the media. And, like you, I’m disappointed in the choice of presidential candidates (even more so than the past 30 years that I’ve been voting), but I’m even more disappointed in the voters than the candidates this time around (if that is even possible). Somewhere, somehow, we have let the media take us off the discussion of issues and we have become consumed with the crap throwing, name calling, ridiculous statements, and possibly illegal actions of these two candidates.
The fact of the matter is one of these two people is going to be the next President of the United States. Over the next four years, our country will be led by someone most of us wouldn’t want to find sitting across from us at the dinner table. But where we Americans have really dropped the ball this time – where we have really missed the boat – is that we haven’t been discussing the important issues of the day but, instead, have spent all of our time watching funny GIF’s and reading slanderous posters on social media sites to show our agreement for the disdain of our two presidential candidates.
We have failed to thrive, America. We have come to expect our politicians to be corrupt and immoral, and so they are. We have come to expect that they will say and do anything for attention and for their own political gain, and so they have. We have come to believe that nobody in Washington is in it for the common good and, so, very few are. Then we are shocked and surprised when it comes down to Election Day and the best we can do as a nation is put up The Donald and Hillary.
I’ve spoken to quite a few friends these past six months about who they think they will be voting for and only two of them said there was a specific issue that was so near and dear to their hearts that it made the decision of who to vote for become clear. Everyone else has simply regurgitated the same offensive character-bashing and then moved on. Even the Presidential debates have been a debacle, with little time for the discussion of issues and a whole lot of time for embarrassing antics. After the last debate I read post after post about Donald’s sniffling but not a word about where either of these candidates stand on the issues. That, my friends, is on us.
Well, in my opinion, we deserve what we got and I’m sad to say I’m just as guilty as everyone else for the state we find ourselves in as a country. We have become an angry mob with our fiery clubs held high, spouting off how terrible everyone in our government is – but we can’t be bothered to write them an email, send them a fax, or share our opinions of the issues with them. We will stand in church one moment, then run to our Facebook page when we get home so we can gossip and misalign their characters, even though we’ve never spent a single moment in their presence or been close enough to their actual campaigns to know if what we just read is truth or not. We can’t be bothered to show up and discuss the issues – hell, we can’t even be bothered to go and vote half the time.
No wonder we are where we are as a country.
Well, I have decided that this is my line in the sand. I am tired of living my life saying, “I am only one person; I can’t do anything about this mess.” It’s time I stopped dining off of the political junk food happy meal that these politicians are handing out and go get myself a good home cooked meal of facts instead.
I’ve decided to pick an issue at city level, one at state level, and one at the national level, and I’m going to start making my opinion known to my political representatives; I invite you to do the same. Spend two hours a month doing a little research and sending an email, or get together with friends to discuss a particular issue and then share your thoughts with those you helped get elected. Find out from people you respect how they are voting on upcoming issues and ask questions about what brought them to their decision. Then sit down and decide for yourself where you stand and find out which candidates line up with your particular issues. Let’s start showing our support for those we want to see rise to the top and start abandoning those who are only in it for the money and the power.
If we get involved and stay involved, the next time a presidential election comes around, we won’t have to hang our heads in shame as we make our way to our local polling place to cast our vote for someone we can only tolerate a little bit more than the other.