America is very good… but is it great?


In some ways, that question in the title (and the statement it makes) is wrong. America is great. It’s awesome… incredible… breathtaking and amazing.

But here’s where The Donald and his “Make America Great Again” slogan might just have a huge point…

Gary Johnson

Let me kick off this rant by saying that it is not… in any way, shape, form or concept… an endorsement of Johnson. It’s not a question I present to find out which candidate you may be voting for, supporting, or considering. It’s not a critique of your beliefs and opinions. Instead…

How is it possible that a third candidate hasn’t emerged in this shit show? (Pardon my language folks, but I know you agree.) And more specifically, how is it no third candidate is getting any coverage and traction?

I mention Gary Johnson for a simple reason… he has qualified to be listed on the ballot in all fifty states. He’s the candidate for the Libertarian Party. (As a side note, Jill Stein is running as the Green Party candidate, and has achieved ballot status in 44 states.)

Some groundwork…

How many of you have wandered into the grocery store, headed over to the produce aisles, and then felt lost because you couldn’t find something? I think it’s happened to all of us. Happens with more common items like potatoes and apples, and it happens with less common items like ginger and scallions.

Thing is… while you may find someone inside the produce area looking frustrated by their attempts to locate the broccoli… rarely do you see someone in the center of the section, on their knees with hands raised to the heavens, exclaiming: “Can someone please help me find some fruit? Any fruit? I’ll take any fruit at all!”

Back to the election…

Right now, all you see are wave after wave of people joking about the lesser of evils (which would be a great joke if it was less sad and actually funny), wanting to know how we got stuck with these two candidates, begging for another choice, and more. Yet… somehow...

(1) Gary Johnson… 2016 Presidential candidate in all fifty states… apparently cannot qualify in polls to be invited to any of the debates. (Same for Jill Stein and her qualifying in roughly 90% of states.)

(2) Instead of mentioning the possible additional candidates, we keep getting fed more and more about Trump and Clinton.

In some regards, I get it. The two primary candidates reflect the virtually automatic options. Other parties (and candidates) need to do some work to get into the discussion. A lot of work. Plus, given the way our political system is set up and the networks operate, it ends up that in order to get their share of attention (and money), the media needs to follow the big dogs (so to speak). So these other candidates, virtually secondary candidates, get passing glances and less notice.

In short, the story is Trump and Clinton, and therefore we will consistently see, hear and read coverage of Trump and Clinton.

(Here’s where the question of America being great comes into play.)

What I don’t get is how so many Americans can be crying out for another option while not even looking to see if there is one… figuratively on the floor in the produce department, sobbing next to a display of apples and oranges and bananas, defeated because there’s no worthwhile fruit to be found.

I don’t understand how so many of us... registered voters... couldn’t even name Johnson as a candidate, but are screaming and crying about the quality available to consider.

Sit down, here it comes: Are we simply getting what we deserve?

There, I asked. And I will ask again…

If we can’t even bother to look around for alternatives, do we have the right to complain about the choices we get?

Decades ago, I was in a parking lot in Warwick, Rhode Island. It was there that I saw a terrific bumper sticker. The specific names and background story behind the sticker aren’t as important as the concept. It said:

“Don’t blame me, I voted for ___________________”

I like that sentiment. The idea is simple enough. (My words) “I tried to do something to make a difference. Didn’t happen, but I did try.”

In this particular essay, it is not my intention to tell you that any candidate will be a good president or a bad president. I cannot predict amazing triumphs or staggering disasters as a result of this election. (I might think it. I can’t guarantee it.)

What I want everyone to at least attempt to understand is simple… not voting is still a vote. It’s one of indifference. It’s one lacking in effort.

Let’s say you wanted to apply for a job. But, when you saw the listing for it, you decided not to. Wasn’t worth your time and effort, since you believed you wouldn’t be considered. The ultimate reality is that this employer still turned you down… they still said no. You simply found a way you considered more palatable to have the news delivered. Instead of being told you didn’t get the job, you decided not to apply at all. Either way you were told no… since either way you didn’t get the job. Similar fashion, not voting is still a vote.

If we can’t be bothered to look for a candidate worth our vote… if we don’t turn up on Election Day… do we have a right to complain about the winner? …do we have a right to be mad about the options?

If we allow for the many possible concepts and wordplay for making America great again that all of the candidates have in some fashion created, I simply want to ask…

Is America great if we all complain while none of us have the energy, motivation, or desire to make it great?


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at