There’s got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let’s keep on looking for the light
—Lyrics from Maureen McGovern’s song “The Morning After” that was the theme for the 1972 disaster film “The Poseidon Adventure.”
Forgive me if you hear me humming “The Poseidon Adventure” theme today.
I can’t think of anything more appropriate the morning after the election.
I am not going to lie. I had to hold my nose on this one for so long I almost became as brain damaged as people who parrot sound bites that they embrace as political philosophy.
I haven’t been too thrilled in recent years about those that have managed to claw their way to the upper echelon positions of political power in this country whether they are Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, middle of the road or one of the last three standing in a bid to live four years rent free in the White House.
That said, races down ballot weren’t that repulsive by far. To be honest I am more concerned about who we elect to legislative offices and for local positions than I am those that want to be the Big Kahuna in the White House, the governor’s office, are any of the constitutional offices at the state level.
Yes, it can be scary thinking about who might one day be able to turn to the colonel carrying the football and order him or her to provide the nuclear access code. But with all due respect, Clinton’s track record in foreign affairs isn’t anything to write home about, Trump can come across at times as a tad too impulsive, and Sanders is more in the vein of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” in his view of the office than someone who has to be flexible and insightful enough to weld the big stick that America — like it or not — needs to do in order to prevent nuclear holocaust.
When all is said and done in November, whoever is elected will be our president even if we didn’t vote for them, even if we can’t stand them, and even if the eventual winner is an egotistical maniac which pretty much describes either one of the presumptive nominees.
That might sound a might harsh but given how we elect presidents — and other upper echelon positions — that odds of a saint surviving the process is as likely as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump divorcing their spouses, marrying each other, and then chucking it all to live out of the limelight in a primitive cabin in an eastern Sierra canyon.
The real problem, though, isn’t how we elect presidents. It’s how we as voters tend — for the most part — to ignore races that are essentially to elect pawns to place on the political chess board.
Kings, queens, rooks and even knights are all high profile and — for want of a better word — sexy.
The players that really count are the pawns. They are the ones that are in the trenches. They are the ones that position policy. And they are the ones that are critical to an even keel execution of a game plan.
The problem is pawns in recent years have abdicated the entire playing board to the kings, queens, knights and rooks. The pawns in reality are more important to the final outcome than the all mighty queen. But if they shirk their role or allow other players in the other two branches call the shots we get — as pundits like to say — the government we deserve.
Of course, they are using that line to describe the prospect of a Trump presidency, a Sanders presidency or even a Clinton presidency.
I’d argue that’s not the case. We already have got the government we deserve which is why the electorate is acting as if they are willing to yank the chess board out from all the pieces and send them flying.
If you don’t think you and I are part of the problem ask yourself this question: What did you really know about the candidates you voted for — assuming you voted — in the race for State Assembly besides what you may have read on a slick mailer, seen in a 15-second TV spot, viewed in a 30-second Internet ad or a 20-second radio commercial?
Sorry, who has the most campaign signs — or the prettiest — doesn’t count.
Nor does voting on anger by ditching the incumbents no matter how repulsive they may seem a wise move if we simply replace them with another warm body.
Manteca Unified voters should have learned that lesson two years ago when they kicked two incumbents to the curb in favor of two complete unknowns that look more and more like Trojan Horses as their prosecution for being illegal candidates winds its way through the judicial system at a speed rivaling a snail racing from San Francisco to New York.
People were frustrated. No doubt about it. Talk to them and you’ll find they supported the school bond even though they felt they were being fed lies and scare tactics by the consulting firm hired to apparently get the measure passed at all costs. Being kept in the dark on the $30 million Going Digital initiative because the school district adopted the stance that the mountain was welcome to come to Mohammed to find out what was going on instead of pro-actively reaching out to the community created a predictable backlash.
Manteca Unified has learned its lesson. The question is whether we as voters have.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.