we need a better option than Death Valley

Prior to reading today’s post, allow me to ask for a private, personal commitment. As always, we will be respectful. Today we additionally ask to refrain from all excuse making. In order to correctly handle this word of truth, wisdom dictates we make no excuses as oft done for singular sides; far too frequently we allow the outlandishness of one to blind us to the lesser outlandishness of another. We then miss the entirety of the argument.

I point today to a thoughtful editorial co-penned last month by Talmage Boston and Tom Leppert for The Dallas Morning News. It addresses our likely choice this coming November, a choice the public has become increasingly concerned about. Dare we suggest, in recent weeks, that concern has intensified. Note how Boston and Leppert begin to frame the choice… [all emphasis mine…]

In October 1854, at the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War, a 600-man British cavalry regiment called the Light Brigade made history. Riding unarmored horses with lances and spears as their only weapons, they rode into the valley between Fedyukhin Heights and Causeway Heights near the Black Sea, seeking to attack a larger battalion of heavily armed Russian troops who had 50 artillery pieces. When the fighting began, the Russians shelled the Brits from three sides, and the brigade was decimated. What happened to them caused French Marshal (and British ally) Pierre Bosquet to say of their ill-considered maneuver into the valley: “It is not war. It is madness.”

News of the regiment’s bitter end soon went viral, to use a modern term, in large part because when poet Alfred Lord Tennyson learned of it, he composed “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” The poem’s timeless message regarding the futile pursuit of victory with a strategy doomed from the start now has application to Democrats and Republicans (and thus to most Americans) since the parties are now preparing to ride the country into battle in the 2024 presidential election aboard their current front-runners, presenting voters with the same dismal ballot choice this year that we had in 2020, even though both men have precipitously declined in stature since the last election day. Sad but true.

If Joe Biden or Donald Trump wins in November, then for the next four years, we’ll be led either by someone who every day becomes more cognitively dysfunctional or someone who every day becomes more psychologically unhinged. Such a bleak scenario will likely produce the same type of disastrous result for our country as was suffered by the Light Brigade 170 years ago…


Some may question the bleakness. Others would argue that only one of the candidates is capable of the doom and gloom scenario; let me respectfully suggest that such a suggestion aligns with the excuse making exercise; there are significant, understandable misgivings with each of these (dare we admit) older white men. Boston and Leppert then discuss the creation of America’s potential newest Death Valley:

When polled, a substantial majority of voters have said repeatedly: “We don’t want a Biden-Trump rematch,” just like the Light Brigade didn’t enter the valley wanting to get killed in battle. Yet despite the voters’ clear message about their preference, today’s parties keep pushing ahead with their front-runners (Onward! Onward!) toward November, knowing nothing good can come from an election predestined to produce four more years of disastrous leadership regardless of which man wins.

Yes, it’s a bona fide Valley of Death scenario because by allowing Biden and Trump to become their nominees, the parties will be yielding to two men who have proven over the years that they place their overinflated egos and selfish agendas above the interest of our nation and its citizens. Thus, the two parties will be complicit in moving ahead with dangerous retreads instead of doing what needs to be done: provide America with new candidates whose sole agenda is to deal with the looming issues that we now need addressed: immigration reform, deficit reduction, a sound energy policy, and a foreign policy capable of bringing some measure of stability to a world now spinning out of control…


The authors — one a historian and one a former political leader — then share three traits they believe are necessary in being a successful president:

  • First, he or she needs to be mentally sharp, have immense stamina, and possess a serious work ethic. More than ever before, the job requires round-the-clock vigilance and nearly superhuman efficiency.
  • Second, the leader of the free world needs to be guided by an integrity-based moral compass capable of invoking the “better angels” of our nature.
  • Third and finally, we need a president with substantial political experience who can run the country as its top leader by staying focused on the concerns of most Americans.

Respectfully stated, neither of our two most recent presidents and likely fall candidates possess all of the above. So what do we do? We need another option. We need a better option. We will make excuses for no one. 

As has been shared here repeatedly, we currently have our eyes on No Labels, the organization sincerely working to present a “Unity Ticket” for 2024, a common sense, common ground oriented ticket that does not sacrifice any of the above. Write Boston and Leppert once more:

As of now, the group most likely to put forth a viable politically experienced candidate who could provide a welcome alternative to voters is the No Labels organization, which is gaining serious momentum because of its commitment to choosing as its presidential and vice presidential candidates people who have sound minds, high integrity and proven track records in finding real solutions to the challenges we all face.

Yes, we both know that never before in American history has a third-party candidate been elected president of the United States. We also know, however, that never before in American history have we had the perilous situation America faces in 2024, which will become even more perilous in the future unless at least one of our established political parties comes to its senses and decides not to cause the country to charge into the Valley of Death aboard a mentally or morally lame front-runner as its 2024 nominee.

Indeed, we need a better option.