When faced with a problem, I sometimes ask, “What if we did nothing?” Aside from the blank stares I often get, eventually my statement gets the better of the individuals surrounding me. Curiosity takes hold, each ponders the question. At that moment I know I have made them think.
On Oct. 16, the Seacoast Media Group editorial board endorsed Hillary Clinton for president (http://tinyurl.com/endorseclinton. Contrary to what some may believe, I do not sit on the editorial board. I am an independent contributor, a different voice calling from the forest, who many on the editorial board have never met. However, had I been in the room I would have asked, “what if we did not endorse either of these extremely flawed candidates (trust me, flawed is an understatement)?” I have no doubt some on the board would have tilted their heads, given me a strange look and dismissed my suggestion. My follow-up question would have been, “What is the purpose of this editorial board: to endorse candidates or to represent the divine truth, the actual facts? Seacoast Media Group was under no obligation to endorse a presidential candidate and there were better alternatives.
Trying to understand the endorsement was one of the most labored reading endeavors I have ever undertaken. The endorsement was rightly critical of one candidate (Trump), much of which I agreed with. However, Seacoast Media Group was entirely dismissive of an extremely corrosive candidate in Clinton. Oh sure, Seacoast Media Group did feign unease, admitting Clinton has made some mistakes, but then casually suggested “she has acknowledged many of them.” Maybe Seacoast Media Group should have done an Internet search on “Clinton transparency,” “Clinton Pinocchio” or “Clinton lies.” The search would not have delivered results from alt-right publications (the vast right-wing conspiracy), but from the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Politico, CNN, The Hill, and Politifact to name a few.
Some polls suggest Trump and Clinton are the least transparent presidential candidates in modern political history. The childish playground retort of “oh yeah, but he’s worse” only demonstrates why we find ourselves with these controversial choices.
Some on the board were determined to win this endorsement for Hillary. I am not suggesting this is in any way wrong. In a normal election, where we have two candidates of differing viewpoints, yet are truly people worthy of elective office, this would be a fair position. However, as the endorsement pointed out, this election was the “most negative of presidential campaigns.”
The simple truth is there was nothing anyone could have said to change the minds of some on the board, losing sight of our editorial responsibility. Some seem to have acted as partisan voters, not as true guardians of our constitutional-republic. They used Trump’s actions as an excuse not to take a true inventory of Clinton’s serious transgressions. Seacoast Media Group missed an opportunity to put the focus where it belongs, acknowledging the failure of government to be responsive to the people and to honor their oath to protect and defend the original intent of the Constitution.
Those of us who have been blessed with your trust must be held to a higher standard, greater than the weaker parts of our human nature. Just because we offer our opinions as part of Seacoast Media Group, it does not mean we are bound to support those candidates who promise to fight for the things we “like.” That statement has never been truer than with these two impostors, Trump and Clinton.
For any truly independent, objective individual to take a look at either candidate and offer an endorsement, you have to overlook an awful lot. Both have been vile, in the truest dictionary definition.
I am not going to bother to list the litany of Clinton’s misdeeds, but from my vantage point, Seacoast Media Group did our community great disservices. Instead of asking “who” they should endorse, they should have listened to the whispers of discontent. The people do not want the “lesser of two evils,” or a president selected while “holding their nose” as they cast their ballot. The lesser of two evils delivered us to this point in our history. Divided, untrusting and adhering to partisanship over principle. This endorsement ignored the mood of the people; falsely believing if these are our choices, like the hapless heroes from Ghostbusters, we should just “choose the form of our destructor.” The way this election has gone, the “Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man” might have actually had shot at being president.
None of us is obligated to serve as accidental martyrs, forced to accept the unacceptable. If 30 percent (or more) of the ballots were cast without a presidential choice selected, or a third-party selected, or a write-in listed, it would send a powerful message. The message: We showed up to vote, selected candidates down ticket, but neither major political party offered a suitable choice for president. Doing nothing, or something different than what is being offered, is actually making a powerful statement.
With this particular endorsement, we see one of the other problems with this election, the failure of the media to hold people, especially politicians, accountable. Sitting in front of us, the two major political parties have offered us two turd sandwiches. The only difference, one has mustard, the other mayonnaise. There are so many people willing to take a bite from either sandwich, believing that is all that is on the menu. Please excuse the somewhat crude vernacular, but it’s true. I wish I could offer a more elegant prose, but there are times when you bend over to smell the rose bush, and you end up getting a big whiff of the manure.
Seacoast Media Group should have considered writing an article on the virtues of the presidency, or published President George Washington’s farewell address to remind us of what a real president looks and acts like. The Seacoast Media Group editorial board could have reminded us that our system of government offers the opportunity for strong local government, which is especially reassuring considering our choices for president this election. Or they could have done nothing, which would have sent a very powerful message. Maybe next time.