We’ll (hopefully) know who won the Presidential election late Tuesday. Regardless of who wins, the nation must learn some of the lessons that have come out in this election. Three of them are old items that were highlighted this year. Two aren’t exactly new, but they definitely hit peak importance as a result of this election.

Before we get into the elections, let’s make one important point. At the end of the day, we’re all still Americans (other than those who aren’t really Americans, but that’s another topic). As such, we need to do what we can to bring order. There will be no unity even within the parties themselves. This election has proven to be too contentious to expect any semblance of unity. However, we can all attempt to remain civil. The nation is going to be a powder keg for weeks at the very least. Cooler minds must prevail.

Now, about those lessons…

Early voting must go

Absentee ballots are necessary and righteous aspects of our voting system. Those who are unable to go to the polls on election day should be given an opportunity to vote. That doesn’t mean that early voting should be used to allow us to be lazy or avoid lines.

Early ballot applications should be frowned upon. I’m not suggesting any form of test, but the things that came out for both candidates from the time that early voting opened until election day were pieces of information Americans needed in order to cast an informed vote. Ill-informed voters are a problem without early voting. Add ignorance-encouraging early voting to the mix and the sanctity of the election is no longer beyond reproach.

Voter ID should be considered by every state

If you have to show identification to buy cigarettes, board a plane, enter a bar, or get a Costco card, you should show identification to help decide the leaders of this nation. Any arguments of racism or voter suppression are feeble and completely untenable. The risk of voter suppression is far lower than the risk of voter fraud. Every state should consider it (and no, it is not a federal issue even for national elections).

Third parties have no idea what they’re doing

Love them or hate them (or both), these two major party candidates are arguably the two weakest in modern history. If there was ever a time when third parties should have been able to make a significant impact, this was the year. The Libertarian Party decided to put up a leftist VP candidate to run with an uninformed Presidential candidate. The Green Party stayed true to their goals of having bark with no bite, a position in which they thrive. If they ever had actual power, they would trip all over themselves trying to give it to someone else.

The Constitution Party was unable to find 55 people in the state of California to fill out a form so they could at least be a write-in. On down the line, we see a combination of poor strategies and poor choices from every party, top to bottom. This is why I’m so invested in forming a Federalist Party, but that’s a whole other topic.

Issues must make a comeback

In 2012, there was a lot made of the fact that the press focused so much on Mitt Romney’s personal shortcomings. Oh, if we knew then what we know now about how low campaigns could go. The press and the voters paid so much attention to the character flaws of both candidates that most voters can only speculate about where they stand on actual issues.

We need to be talking about issues. We need to be talking about how to solve problems. We need more than a tidbit or a Tweet and until society is ready to go all-in on internet research, the media still has to deliver information on television and radio. They need to start doing that. The only question is the source of this gossip-mag journalism. Do the people guide the media about what interests them or does the media tell the people who they want to be interested in?

Change everything about the debates. Everything.

I’m not going to dwell on this lesson. You all say them. Moderators were generally awful. Questions were baiting and irrelevant. Time was too short for the answers. Many candidates in the primary had no opportunity to shine.

I’d love to see completely different debate format. Imagine questions (on the issues) asked of one candidate at the time without the other candidates present. They’re given ample time to answer it: 2-10 minutes, depending on the question. No audience. Not played live. After all of the answers are recorded, the candidates are brought together to hear all of the answers to the same question played to them for the first time. Then, they’re given 2 minutes to respond. They could attack one particular candidate. They could attack several. They could defend their own position or even change portions of their answer depending on what they heard from others. It’s far. It’s based around the issues. It’s informative. It would be fantastic.

There are other important lessons to learn from this election, but these give us plenty to work towards in 2018 and particularly in 2020.

One thing is certain: this campaign season got out of hand and it wasn’t entirely the candidates’ fault. The media played their standard leftist decoy role. The people obliged and rewarded them by tuning in 24/7. Twitter and its 140 characters became the venue for serious discussions. This election turned into a debacle. Thank the Lord it’s almost over. Hopefully.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – It is almost over. The voting part of this, anyway. The divisiveness and hostility we have developed for each other will probably linger, sadly. Some observations going into Election Day 2016:

In Louisiana over half a million voters turned out for early voting which surpasses the record set in 2012 which was 350,000 voters.  Make of it what you will.  Are the large numbers because of the presidential election or just because people want to go vote against David Duke?  No idea.

As we close in on election day the media still holds tremendous sway over public perception. I wonder how much attention people pay to all of these polls and then say, “Oh well, Candidate A is ahead three or four points in the polls so why should I go vote?”  I believe there are a great many people not being quite truthful with pollsters, but that’s just my opinion.  I don’t pay much attention to polls; I favor those that support my own point of view, which is, of course a completely useless practice.

Julian Assange says that “Trump would not be permitted to win” this election.  Take that with a grain of salt.

And Hillary says any Wikileaks bombshell coming out in the days before the election is likely to be false.  Does that mean that the other leaks were not false?

With Hillary Clinton still so highly favored (IF you believe polls), that indicates that the general American voting population does not care that she left men to die in Benghazi, that she was cavalier with classified material to the point that she let her maid print classified documents for her, and that she takes money from governments that fund ISIS.  They discount all the other baggage as well. If Bill was impeached over Monica Lewinsky, Hillary’s future impeachment will at least give them a matching set.  We will have the first impeached husband and wife presidential team in the history of the world. How proud we must be.

Oh and we also have new warnings for potential terror attacks.

Dandy.

Stay strong, America. Whichever candidate you favor, whichever way this election goes, we are almost through with this part of it.

Then we will have to live with our choice.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Barring a 2nd Bush Gore event or a 269-269 tie by this time Wednesday we will know the results of this election and the direction this country is going.

This is an important thing and I don’t minimize for one moment how important it is but I want to tell you about three things that Happened to me in a 30 hour period this weekend.

On Saturday I visited a woman I’ve known only though radio to drop off a book for her.  We talked and visited a bit, she is very deeply committed to her Born again faith the importance of the name of Jesus and the desire to do all she can to keep at least one more soul out of hell, but she’s also committed to her elderly mother who she takes care of.  While she has her own aches and pains her spare time not dedicated to evangelization goes to making sure her mother is able to live and function without having to go to a nursing home.

Sunday Morning I got a call from another friend.  While he has a first class mind and is a polymath in nearly a dozen languages he has multiple physical issues, spends most of his time bedridden and in a fantastic amount of pain, the last time he managed to get out to mass fell and fractured both feet.  His primary contact with the outside world is his phone.    His pain and physical limitations means that he has to ask as a favor for help doing things that for most of us would be trivial from buying a old fashioned $16 phone to getting his spectacles adjusted.  He called asking for a ride to the bank do to a minor transaction which if he is physically able will get done a few hours after you read this.

Sunday afternoon a 3rd friend stopped over to pick up something I ordered for them on Amazon and reimburse me. (given her neighborhood delivery of such items is iffy)  She is a longtime activist who has worked tirelessly for good causes and has discovered that her cancer has returned and has spread to her lungs.  She is clearly worried about her future, but still managed to speak of things related to her causes (all of which I support) and as she left the house with a smile on her face it occurred to me I don’t know if she would ever visit again.

All of these people took time that I might have used doing something else, but they like the three wise men who visited the infant Jesus brought an important pre-election gift, the gift of perspective.

All of us have troubles and issues and some of them will may be made worse under our new President, but when it comes down to it, when you have real responsibilities to handle, real physical issues to overcome or have the prospect of your own mortality staring you in the eye, the struggles for power and the millions that are spent to inflame our passions toward them shrink in comparison as well they should.

Furthermore at any moment our circumstance can change.  We can find ourselves in the position of the mother needing care, the daughter choosing to provide it, the formally independent man wracked with pain an in need of assistance for basic things or the active person facing death and asking for prayers for their soul.

May that thought help us to see Christ in all such people that we might not dismiss them and may we be truly grateful for what we have, because the reality is, wealth, independence, health and life is fleeting.

That’s up to us, not to whoever is in the White House