My two cents. From the middle of the road.

[lightbox link=”” thumb=”×295.png” width=”472″ align=”right” title=”My 2-cents. From the middle of the road.” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=”My 2-cents. From the middle of the road.”]Needless to say, this election is unprecedented. The Republican nominee is Joseph McCarthy on steroids, using fear-mongering to fuel divisiveness, with a clear goal of benefiting from the fallout. The tactic is last-ditch and desperate…but those two terms also define the general feeling most Americans have when it comes to trusting elected officials.

The options are abysmal: Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump.

That is by design.

There’s one very important reality to remember: This is merely a puppet show. The candidates are the marionettes. Wall Street wealth is the puppeteer. Through relaxed laws on lobbying since the Reagan administration, “big interests,” most-notably Banking, have been able to use the back-door to craft a political system that benefits their interests tremendously, devastating the middle class.

We need to sincerely ask ourselves as a society – is a CEO in the financial industry really worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually, while the independent bakery owner works 16-hour days providing a tangible, worthwhile every day service to his community, employing neighbors and feeding mouths…yet can barely keep the lights on, all while paying a higher percentage of taxes on his income? This makes sense?

Of course it doesn’t.

The CEO is able to maintain his exorbitant wealth because he has an enormous amount of money available to fund individual campaigns and pay lobbyists top-dollar (many of whom are former elected officials) to get a seat at the table with those who will be voting on legislation that could negatively impact the banking business. Even worse, now that those elected officials are on the hook, he can guide those puppets into crafting legislation that will continue to fuel the great wealth-divide worldwide.

Again. This is all by design.

Those who were in the middle class, now holding down multiple, time-consuming low-paying jobs (if those jobs haven’t already been outsourced or downsized), struggle to find the time to be there for their kids…let alone pay fervent attention to their political options.

The end result is a mass of frustrated lemmings who are either apathetic about voting, or who cling to one individual ideal – which ultimately determines their electoral selection. Often those individual ideals are completely unrelated to the “character” of the individual for whom they’re voting – and they choose to overlook a candidate’s character to further the one, singular ideal they’ve allowed themselves the time to champion.
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Donald Trump: His character is undeniably narcissistic, uncongenial, irreverent and uneducated. Supporters over-look all of that, yet support him to cling to their one ideal: Immigration reform, less government intervention, repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Hillary Clinton: Her character is defined by unapologetic political ambition. She is a career politician who clearly understands how the game (dominated by legalized unlimited campaign finance and lobbying) is played, which renders her complicit with Washington’s wealth-gap fueling status quo. Like Trump supporters, Hillary’s supporters overlook her character, clinging to their singular, specific ideals: Equality, education, access to health care.
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But here’s the rub. As I’ve said – all of this is the side-show. We’d be absolute fools to think the current political process in Washington will legitimately change when either gets elected. There’s far too much special interest money in the system. That special interest cash MUST DISAPPEAR if our elected officials are ever going to legitimately debate legislation based on the needs of constituents, rather than “the needs” of financial backers beholden to results-driven shareholders. We’re better than this.

We need to further agendas that benefit the nation as a whole, rather than the wealthy with financially-backed political influence. The average American doesn’t have a voice at the political table…because the average American can’t AFFORD it.

[lightbox link=”” thumb=”×295.png” width=”472″ align=”left” title=”election2016″ frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=””]After suffering through this election cycle with everyone else, I have determined that my decision comes down to foreign policy (not specifics…simply: who’s better at playing with others). As a society, and for our future, we cannot afford to be isolationist. Globalization is real. Candidate Clinton, though in my opinion a terrible option, will not champion isolationist thinking. Let me be perfectly clear, I do not want to vote for her – but based on my personal rationale, she’s my only option. Candidate Trump’s demeanor and arrogance could be devastating to America’s role in the economic evolution of our inevitably globalizing world.

Should she be elected, however, I can’t stop my political involvement there. I need to – like all other average Americans who don’t have a voice at the table – make my elected officials aware of my continued discontent with the current state of the American political process. Together, we need to begin the uphill battle of regaining a more level political playing field that doesn’t just favor those who can afford a voice at the legislative table. We need to reestablish a capitalist democracy that makes sense for the stability of the nation as a whole. Neither candidate can achieve that simply by winning an election – we as the electorate need to demand these changes, regardless of who winds up in the White House.

In summary, it’s time for the average American to reclaim his significance in our capitalist democracy. Hopefully this election cycle will, down the road, awaken us to the hard reality: while we’re debating and vigorously scrapping over inconsequential candidates and our individual ideals, the exorbitantly wealthy continue to cement their positions as a modern aristocracy…because they can afford to influence the political process. We need to awaken to the reality that the real threat is not Republican ideals vs. Democrat ideals – the real threat is a widening wealth gap that slows economic growth, craters innovation, ultimately drives the national debt and demolishes opportunity.

The “political show” we’ve enjoyed over the past 14-months is a smoke-screen of split-issues, blinding us from the truth that 90-95% of Americans are actually quite united…in the reality that our buying power and ability to participate in driving the economy has actually decreased alongside our descending political influence – all thanks to a “rigged,” lobbyist-entrenched political system. We need to get our voice back, exercise our atrophied attention spans, and respectfully reverse the trend, regardless of our horrendous options.