Elections have consequences. Really? Well, thank you so very much, Captain Obvious.
One small observation though.
You’re dead wrong.
Elections, in and of themselves, don’t have consequences. Choices have consequences. Who you choose to vote for has consequences. Who you choose to vote against has consequences. Even if you choose to stay home on Election Day, as some sort of perverse protest against the perceived ideological impurity of some candidate, that too has consequences.
Saying that choices having consequences is always true. It is a truism not quarantined to the political world. Consequences wouldn’t exist anywhere in the world if there were no choices to make.
If you have a choice to fly to see your family or to drive, the consequences might be noted in differences in cost, in time, in convenience. But even such a simple thing has consequences. If you’re lucky, the consequences are minimal in terms of pain inflicted. Sometimes the consequences are lethal. If you choose to fly, and the plane crashes, that’s a pretty adverse consequence of your choice. The fact that you weren’t aware of the aircraft’s lack of maintenance doesn’t change the fact that you had a choice and you chose based on what you knew the moment you made the choice. Oops.
As the old saying goes, Pain is Mother Nature’s way of charging you tuition for what you just learned.
Not all choices have such an immediate or even dramatic outcome. Young people can choose to study hard or goof off. The consequence? Whether or not they graduate from high school and go on to college, or if they are going to be working at what is effectively a minimum wage, entry level job forever. The one who chose to work hard, study and go to college then chooses a major. Now suppose there are two students who both studied hard, graduated in the same class, both went to college but they choose different majors. One decided to major in computer programming and the other in 17th Century Lithuanian poetry. Do you think, in terms of the ability to make a living and raise a family the choices that were made by these two students had consequences?
We are living today in a nation where the consequences of earlier choices are becoming more and more obvious.
The Choice: The nation chose to give themselves a lot of “stuff” but wanted someone else to pay for it. The Consequence: We now have $17 trillion in debt to pay back. Oops.
The Choice: The nation wanted to prove to the world that we were not racist, so we elected Barack Obama. The Consequence: We elected the most racially divisive president in living memory, whose policies and agenda are making us more racially polarized, not less. Oops.
The Choice: The nation chose to support the idea of “Health insurance for everyone!” The Consequence: “This trillion dollar round’s on me!” Oops.
The Choice: The nation got hit by the Arab oil embargo. The nation wanted to be self-sufficient in the energy sector. The then President, Democrat Jimmy Carter, set up the Department of Energy. The Consequence: For over 30 years oil imports climbed. Private industry developed a new technology to get energy out of the ground in terms of oil and natural gas. The new President, Democrat Barack Obama, has done everything possible to undercut this explosion of energy resources, going so far as to shut down the coal industry to offset gains in the other energy sectors.
And these are just a few examples. If every choice has a consequence, doesn’t it seem rational that we should be demanding that candidates for public office outline what they see as adverse consequences before we give them our vote? And ask them all one further question. Are they willing to bet their jobs that they’re sure of their answer?
As for the consequences that all of us are all living with, wouldn’t you love to know who to blame? Well don’t try blaming the Republicans. Or the Democrats. Or the Tea Parties. If you want to know who to blame, go look in the nearest mirror. You (and I blush to confess, me as well) put the idiots who did most of this stuff where they could do this damage. We made a choice. We made it. Now we are living with the consequences of those choices. We also have to admit it’s our own fault. After all, they were our choices.