entering the (too early, exhausting) election fray

Ready or not, here we come… It’s only 622 days until our next presidential election! [Insert collective, exhausting sigh here.]

I don’t mind the election. As an advocate of respectful dialogue, however, I mind how people treat one another during it. Truthfully, friends, I don’t know if any of us are really ready. The campaigning starts way too early, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, I don’t think our mass media is ready — but I suppose that’s only true if their desire is to actually report the news as opposed to craft/manipulate a desired perspective. Too many feel the freedom to attempt to sway public opinion instead of present facts for public opinion.

Last week, no less — not counting any former Rhode Island mayors or eloquent entrepreneurs — we witnessed our first substantial, non-President contestant enter the fray.

(FYI: The definition of “fray” is as follows:

fray (noun) –

  1. a fight, battle, or skirmish.
  2. a competition or contest, especially in sports.
  3. a noisy quarrel or brawl.

I would suggest all definitions may be true. That brawl one spurs on additional exhaustion.)

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley officially announced her candidacy. 

Friends, before today’s hopefully insightful commentary, allow me to add some very brief context: 

  • I have routinely voted for persons representing different parties.
  • I believe both parties have nominated some very poor candidates in recent years.
  • I don’t believe in sacrificing integrity, compassion or competency via my vote.

That said, I believe in looking at a candidate’s record. While I appreciate a candidate’s background, that will not be the principal reason for my vote. Instead…

What policy have they advocated for and/or enacted? What have been the results of that policy? In the short term? Long term? Where have they changed what they believe in policy-wise? Why? Records matter.

And yet, when Nikki Haley announced her candidacy — and I don’t care which party she represents in saying this — note the reactions of the media who spoke loudest of something other than her record…

From CNN’s Don Lemon who said on his morning show about the 51 year old Haley: She “isn’t in her prime”… A woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s… Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just saying what the facts are. Google it.”

From The View’s Whoopi Goldberg, dismissing Haley’s call for a “new generation” of leadership: “You’re not a new generation; you’re 51.”

From Daily Beast contributor Wajahat Ali on MSNBC, accusing Haley of using her brown skin “as a weapon against poor black folks and poor brown-black folks,” adding: “She uses her brown skin to launder white supremacist talking points… She’s the alpha-Karen with brown skin. And for white supremacists and racists, she is a perfect Manchurian candidate.”

Nikki Haley is a woman. She is 51. Her parents immigrated to the U.S. from India. Her birth name is Nimarata Nikki Randhaw. She has long gone by her middle name, just like Ashton Kutcher, Reese Witherspoon and Rihanna. Friends, let me be clear; none of the above will be why I choose to vote for or against candidate Haley.

I also won’t vote for or against potential candidates Kamala Harris because she’s a 58 year old, multi-racial woman, Pete Buttigieg because he’s a 41 year old, gay man, or Ron DeSantis because he’s a 44 year old white man. None of these attributes tell us enough about the person. They don’t reveal character. They don’t equate to any aspect of integrity. And they tell us nothing of how the candidate would potentially govern.

So let’s talk about what matters most. Regardless of party. And let’s also quit accepting this slippery speak from the media… on the left… on the right. They too often focus on lesser things. They too often don’t really report the news.

(Did I mention this may be exhausting?)