The Choice, for Now, Is Still Ours

The Choice, for Now, Is Still Ours

Many of us have already voted but electoral laws permit us to change our minds until the end of Election Day.

All of us have faced enormous pressure to vote for lesser evils, to ignore the premises on which an effective democracy functions. Those premises demand that we follow our consciences and vote for the best among us, not for those we feel can win. In that manner, collectively, we pick the best among us to rule. It does not involve a right but rather a duty, a duty in which we have proven to be abject failures for far too long. Principle among the components of that duty is to be informed as to who our options are and what they stand for. But we’ve abdicated that duty to a mainstream media that for a while now has been bought and paid for by those whose goal is to subvert democracy to their personal ends. Many of us sense that, some of us know that, but too few among us are prepared to do anything about that. Like our historical predecessors so often in our histories, the metaphors that best describe us are sheep or lemmings.

We are political cowards which, given our capacity for heroism when facing other kinds of violence, might seem surprising until we realize that in both cases our reactions are propaganda driven, manipulated through ever more efficient behaviorist techniques that know which words, in what order and in what context will elicit what reaction. We have been politically domesticated by a minuscule percentage of our peers, courage and independence bred out of us, and trained like Pavlov’s dogs to react to the stimulus of fear. We have become mere pets, but not well cared for and beloved pets, but rather, abused and abandoned pets, served meals during elections and then abandoned. And that is the legacy we are apparently willing to leave to our children.

Many of us believe that slavery was ended in this country immediately after the conclusion of our Civil War but the reality is, as those of us who follow real history rather than the propaganda fed to us by our schools, that what followed was the so called Gilded Age when a few among us became incredibly wealthy at our expense, and the vast majority of us morphed into a new kind of slave, perhaps perfect slaves, docile and insecure and unaware of our new nature. But not all of us succumb, at least not all of the time. Some of us, perhaps in folly and naivety (as those who follow the lesser-evil path refer to us), with some residue of courage and independence, seek to emancipate ourselves and our brethren by daring to face both the ridicule of our peers and the punishment of our masters by breaking the mental bonds that bind us and realizing that we are not defenseless, dare to join the vanguard on the road to freedom.

Today, in this electoral cycle, that is still an option, and even if victory is not immediate, the battle to attain it can be joined. We can assert our independence, reject political cowardice and fear and vote our conscience, or we can cower in fear, secure in the knowledge that our political masters and their media overseers will be pleased, and perhaps will look upon us without disfavor as we watch our friends and families and fellows sink lower and lower into despair, and following the prods of our betters, jeer and criticize them.

The choice, for now, is still ours.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2016; all rights reserved

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