Dr. Bill Atwood

Is this the best we’ve got?

Last week I had the opportunity to be a substitute teacher at Mariposa County High School in a couple of different history classes. The kids were great and we had some great discussions about the presidential elections and the primary campaigns.

I really was quite impressed with the level of knowledge displayed by the students regarding the actual issues facing this country. I also heard of the frustration they have with the candidate of both parties, along with the mainstream news media.

The students wanted to look at the issues of the economy, health care, terrorism, the war in the Middle East, immigration, and the environment. They don’t hear answers from most of the candidates to any of the questions asked during the debates, and what they see and hear are insults and name calling.

We shared the realization that if any student at a high school running for a student body or club office started to berate another student/candidate, the consensus was that A) the administration would pull the plug on the microphone, B) the audience would probably boo the bully, and C) the offending candidate would be removed from the election process.

Students were talking about the reaction they would get at home from their parents if they had engaged in that sort of boorish behavior. Some of the reactions that I heard included: “Really? Mocking a handicapped person’s disability?” or “Calling someone little due to their height?” and then, “Liar Ted.” The other candidates were adding comments about small hands, and bad spray-on tans.

The candidates were asked questions about serious issues and they answered whatever question they wanted to answer. A couple of boys commented that would be the same as your parents asking where you had been for the past six hours and you answer by telling them that you think that global warming is a great concern to your generation.

The other political party isn’t doing much better. One candidate is being investigated by 150 full-time FBI agents, a high level aide has now been granted immunity for his testimony (which indicates Grand Jury type investigation), the candidate calls this investigation a “Security Review” and the other candidate doesn’t want to offend the Clintons by asking about the emails or the security risk that the emails posed to this nation. The Socialist candidate wants to give away everything to people who don’t want to work. I notice that he never is pressed by the press to explain how to pay for it beyond the fewer than 600 billionaires in the nation being cleaned out of every dime they have.

So those two are able to lie and avoid answering the questions, and they blame the Republicans for everything.

So in a nutshell: Donald wants to have Mexico build a wall they won’t build, and order the military to do illegal stuff. Marco wants a non-amnesty style amnesty program, and Ted wants to ship everyone back across the border. John Kasich wants everyone to admire Ohio and his actions there, and to get along and hug.

Hillary wants to be more left leaning during the primaries than a Socialist who simply wants to give everything away to everyone.

Donald’s folks don’t care what he says. They just love that he angers the GOP establishment. Ted angers the GOP establishment daily but calls himself the unifier. Marco wants to work with the other side of the aisle, but angers the base when he tries to do so, and John still wants to hug everyone.

One-note Bernie blames everything on the rich, but can’t name a poor person who ever created a job for another person. Hillary calls herself the most transparent politician in recent history but has erased 53,000 emails, hidden other emails, avoids questions about her time as secretary of state, and her involvement with the Clinton Global Foundation.

Getting back to the students. The attitude among many of these first-time voters is frustration. I agreed with the comment of many of them when they looked at me and reminded the class that with 320 million people in this country, you would think that we could field a better crop of candidates.

I fear many of us are looking at the election of 2016 as the “hold your nose as you vote” election.