The amazing part of this election is how much the two candidates are hated by the electorate. It’s amazing they made it this far. We have here what the media calls a “disconnect”. For those of us who enjoy an occasional craps game, the likelihood of hitting 7 five times in a row is similar to the odds of getting two candidates with favorability ratings this bad. They aren’t just ‘eh’ bad. They are ‘please let me get struck by the meteor of death” bad. For those dealing with this conundrum, I offer the following parable.
THE PLANE TRIP
John arrived at the airport in a rush. He had a meeting he had to get to in Atlanta, and DC traffic was always a nightmare this time of day. This was a sudden emergency trip he was instructed to take that morning by his boss. Frank, a coworker, was also going on the trip to Atlanta and would be meeting him at the airport.
John rushed to the ticket counter to buy his ticket. There hadn’t been time for reservations. There had barely been time to pack his briefcase with the paperwork he needed for the meeting. This meeting would determine the future of the company for which he and Frank worked. To say it was critical was an understatement. Arriving breathlessly at the ticket counter John asked the agent, “Can I get a ticket to Atlanta on the next flight?” The agent replied, “You are in luck, there are two planes leaving for Atlanta in 20 minutes. One leaves from the gate on your left and the other leaves from the gate on your right. The tickets cost the same for either flight.”
John breathed a sigh of relief. He would make the meeting. He would be ok. His gaze took him over to the gate to his left where one flight to Atlanta was preparing to board. In a flash, he recognized the pilot. Jimmy, “you low down selfish conman” he thought to himself. Jimmy, like a lot of pilots, was a member of his club. John shook his head. Jimmy was a scoundrel. He cheated on his wife. He cheated at cards. He didn’t pay child support to his two ex wives until they took him back to court. Amazingly, he always had money to gamble with at the club. John thought silently: “No way in hell I’ll take that flight with that jerk flying. I won’t give him the satisfaction of knowing he had me for a customer.”
With a smile on his face he turned to his right and saw the other flight to Atlanta, which was about to board. He turned to the agent at the desk to purchase his ticket when something caught his eye at the second gate. “Oh no,” he moaned out loud. Mike, another member of his club, and a pilot was moving toward the ramp of the second plane. John had as much contempt and repulsion for Mike as he had for Jimmy. Mike was as arrogant as the sky was blue. He had taken money for some investment scheme from members of the Club and lost it all in some deal in penny stocks. He claimed that it was the members fault for not giving him enough money. He treated his wife and children like slaves, admonishing them in public for not taking care of HIS house and HIS car. His wife had filed domestic abuse charges on him twice and then mysteriously dropped them. Worst of all he was a habitual drunk. As John stared at him, he noticed the bottle of Scotch sticking out of his flight bag. “Lord help me, but getting on a plane with him is dangerous. He’s drunk now and going to get worse as we go. He will crash this plane and kill us all and whomever is on the ground. No way I can go with him either” John thought. His coworker Frank came running up.
“Did you see who’s flying these two planes,” Frank shouted! “I can’t and won’t fly with either of those two scum bags.” “What choice do we have?” Argued John. “This is the most important meeting in years. We don’t have any other choice!” Frank, a very devout, spiritual and headstrong man said, “I have a choice. I will drive there”. “To Atlanta?” said John. “It’s a 10 hour drive!” “We have to be there in 3 hours. No way can you get there driving.”
“Maybe not,” said Frank, “but I will have my dignity”. Frank picked up his bag and hurried down the concourse toward the parking garage. John shook his head. “What a bunch of lousy choices. I can drive and not get there in time, I can fly with someone I hate and have a good chance to get there alive, or I can fly with a drunk who I hate and might kill us all, but the ride might be better, if scary, because it looks like there are a lot fewer passengers at that gate.”
John is facing the choice a lot of voters are facing. Many voters detest Clinton, are scared of Trump and know in their hearts that voting for a third party is a vote of conscience and will impact the election only by taking away a vote from Trump or Clinton. On November 8, 2016, we will find out what choice John made.