Monday, November 7, 2016

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Election Day, 2016

In a few hours, the polls will close across the nation, and the
tumultuous and unanticipated 2016 presidential campaign
will be concluded, a new Congress will be elected, and
several state legislatures and governorships decided.

It has been quite a ride.

I have not endorsed any candidate for president to this
point, and in the spirit of not presuming to tell my readers
how they should vote, I will not do so now. Nor will I reveal
which candidate I am personally going to vote for.

What I will say is that I am going to mark my ballot much
less for a personality, and more for a candidate’s party, what
it stands for, and whether it will advance the ideas, principles
and values that I believe in. I think such an approach might
be useful for any voter whether they are liberal, conservative
or centrist.

Whoever wins this election day will face obstacles and
challenges few new presidents have ever encountered. In
1933, Franklin Roosevelt entered the White House in the very
midst of an historic economic crisis which required, literally,
immediate attention. The crisis facing the nation today is
considerably less visible, but no less dire. In 1933, it was
primarily an economic catastrophe which had appeared. In
2017, the perilous circumstances of a transforming economy,
domestic and global, are accompanied by unprecedented
technological change, threats of terror, a dangerously weaker
U.S. military, a widespread failing educational system, a
looming crisis in American healthcare, and many more 
serious issues. No matter who becomes president, he or she
will face the inevitable loss of half the full-time jobs in the
nation (due to robotics) within the next decade or two --- with
no now known source of jobs to fill the resulting employment

The United States has survived and flourished by continually
reinventing itself politically, socially and economically. Doing
this has enabled us to make it through 228 years, and to become
the world’s most successful large nation, as well as the protector
of other, and smaller, representative democracies which face
natural and human-made threats.

We have reinvented ourselves with innovation and the practice
of liberty for two centuries, and now we must do it once again.
If we do not, the alternative is the unthinkable, but possible. 

That is what truly is at stake when the votes of more than a
hundred million Americans are counted on November 8, 2016.

Copyright (c) 2016 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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