Brandon Bartlett is an English sophomore and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News editorial.
Time to admit it: This election is depressing. There is no way around it, the utter depravity of nuance, facts, common sense and general human goodness displayed in the Republican candidates really concerns me.
How far have we fallen? How much farther can we fall?
Right now, the Republican Party has a racist, sexist, fear-mongering fascist going up against a mildly disguised racist, sexist, fear-mongering fascist going up against a slightly less racist, sexist, fear-mongering fascist. And you know who is winning? The first one.
It is truly amazing how helpless one can feel within a democracy. Can anything pierce the veil of ignorance which shrouds us? Or have we simply gone blind from living inside the bright city on a hill?
But how can we be surprised? Representational government does just that — it represents. It’s the cold black mirror reflecting our increasingly less hidden monsters. And maybe this is its strength. Maybe this hangover will be the proverbial slap in the face that we desperately need; the morning after shows us how far we have strayed.
Or maybe not.
We must keep the faith. As Churchill is said to have put it, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” This seems to ring true.
Democracy puts the power in the hands of the masses, and yet we often expect better quality than in that which has “mass appeal.” Are things not targeted to the masses the lowest of quality? Is not popular culture and media more often a race to the bottom than it is anything else?
So why democracy? Why chose a system doomed to give poor results?
Because it is better than the alternative; it’s the lesser evil.
As the dogmatist would remind you, power corrupts. And yet, we need someone to hold power. For as much as my libertarian/anarchist friends would like to tell you otherwise, we need some form of governance. Even tyranny is superior to the Hobbesian state of nature.
But there are very few true civil servants out there. And as Machiavelli showed us, the truest civil servant is terrifying. For the man or woman so empty of themselves that they do not even need to be well liked, may become a tyrant for the sake of the people. For while it is not better to be feared than loved, it may be better to fear one’s government than to love it.
So how do we answer this? We give the intoxicating brew to the greatest amount of people possible, for if we all take but a sip, none will become drunk with power.
And, I guess, we wait to come what will. For while the tyranny of the majority may drive John the Savage to suicide and Guy Montage out of town, at least Winston Smith will never be brought to the Ministry of Love. And maybe that is enough.
But I do fear that my position gives me a peace greater than I should hold. For I am a straight, white, cisgender male, and the worst I have to fear is Ted Cruz sending me to “see if the sand can glow in the dark.” More likely than not, the election of one of our most feared candidates will do me more good than harm.
If I were Middle-Eastern or African American, could I be peacefully resigned to the democratic process? If I were a woman or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, would I sit idly by as the legal castle that I have built is threatened by the taunting tide?
I doubt that I have the stoic mastery to do so.
So, my reader, what can we do? For I know not the correct steps to take.
But may we do this: Let us decide, before the drum begins to roll, whether the scaffold is the place for our nicest manors and most proper clothes, or if it is the final stronghold; whether we should continue to make music while we go down with the ship, or if we must swim to shore. For whether we make peace or rage against that good night, either is better than the dying of the light because we were too lazy to relight the candle.