by Cody J. Elms
After a longer than I'm comfortable admitting period of writer's block, the voice inside my mind that has always guided the words that I type began to speak again. Faint, perhaps not as boisterous as it once was, but speak it did. Although it's strength may not have returned to it's fullest, with practice, it will once again flow ebulliently. Given the new year, and what lies ahead, I have a feeling inspiration will come at me like a freight train.
You could call this the calm before the storm. A brief moment of peace before all hell breaks loose and the 2020 Presidential Election campaigning begins to take over every facet of our lives. It may seem as though I am jumping the gun here, however the average announcement date for President of the United States from the last four elections, is approximately 531 days before election day, with Hillary Clinton announcing 577 days before the 2016 election, and Barack Obama announcing 633 days before the 2008 election. Going by these numbers, we are looking at business really starting to pick up around the middle of May this year. May 22, 2019 is exactly 531 days prior to the Tuesday, November 3rd Election Day. However, if we were to go off of Obama’s announcement date, we could be looking at as early as the beginning of February. Currently, the incumbent, Donald Trump has said he plans to run, but I don’t particularly count that as an announcement as it was expected. In addition to Trump’s expected run, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) kind of announced she was running on December 31, 2018 by issuing a Twitter statement that she was launching an exploratory committee for the office.
All of that fun factual and yes, kind of boring information is indeed leading to something. The Presidential Elections of this century are growing stale, dividing more with every four years, and have become a cash cow for media platforms of all kinds. People need to be informed, however they are no longer being informed, but rather they are being force fed absolute lies, propaganda, and misinformation in order to perpetuate the idea that if their candidate does not win the next election that anarchy will engulf the nation and a once great beacon of freedom will fall. This applies to both parties on both sides of the fence. I wish I were lying, or even just being slightly comedic, but sadly this is where we find ourselves in 2019. This peace time is becoming more and more brief with every election as well. Twenty-four-seven news networks, the rapid heaving of eye-catching headlines that misrepresent the content of their story, and flooding of social media with fake accounts or bots take over the election period like an incurable cancer.
First, I would advise people to take more interest in their local politics if they insist on being active and opinionative of the government. Your local and state government will affect your day-to-day lives far more than the federal government (President) ever will. Movements throughout history have always begun at home. So, whatever it is you believe in, if you are unwilling to put forth the effort to accomplish that goal in your own backyard, then you are unfit to attempt it in someone else’s.
That was for the politically active crowd, which are few and far between in the broad scheme of things. For the majority of people, their political activism starts and stops with social media. Memes, memes, and more memes, that have no factual backing, sources, and often times are about as far from the truth as humanly possible. The social media political activists befriend like-minded people, and essentially shout into an echo chamber, making themselves believe that the rest of the country unequivocally agrees with whatever nonsense they are trying to spew out on any given day.
Now that is my advice for those who follow politics, and more specifically the Presidential Election. Granted there is a portion of Americans that couldn’t care less who is President, and don’t even vote. I envy them in a way, but at the end of the day, it is their responsibility to take advantage of a right that for some is fairly new, and for other nations, may not even exist.
What I want to stress to everyone as the looming storm approaches, is that by feeding into the frenzy, allowing the politicians through the media and social networking to control how we treat one another, our family and friends, our neighbors and members of our communities, we only give them more control and power over us as a whole. No will not be united over every issue, or agree on every law, but our political and social differences should not result in those who run the government gaining more of a stranglehold on our basic freedoms.
I stressed that local activism is where we should all start, and I did so because once it loses it’s importance in society, then we no longer have a voice. I fully believe the less we post, share, Tweet, Snap, and/or any other form of social media sharing of our political beliefs, the more we control what our politicians here. Instead of gauging social media activity for trends, hashtags, and empty movements, they will have to engage us as a nation. Face to face.
These two supports the third of not allowing the individuals who are supposed to serve us and the best interest of the nation take advantage of our emotional attachment to some of our beliefs.
The voice within myself may have faded for a brief period of time, but I knew it still to be there. No one stole it, it didn't run and hide, it simply decided it was better to listen for a time, rather than speak. Those who represent us may make the noise, but it is our voice they are using, and with that we are culpable if we do not insist they too listen.
As the campaigning approaches, keep in mind, that the American people don’t always have to be the loudest voice in the room, but the American politician should never be the only one heard.