IT IS CERTAINLY no secret that the American election process has a great deal of the showbiz-type elements infused into it. Long has this been an undeniable truth and we seem to not only accept this; but we even have come to expect it. This phenomenon's presence rings true at all levels, be it municipal, county, state or federal.
BEING THAT WE are aware of this, we should be able to safely navigate through all of the ballyhoo and arrive at intelligent choices in candidates and any referendum, be they binding or advisory) that appears on the ballot. Recognizing what are the issues at stake and scrutinizing the contending candidates and parties give us a foot up on cutting to the chase as to what is important in a particular election cycle. The last cog in this wheel is weighing the credibility of a candidate as well as their trustworthiness in keeping (or attempt) in keeping election promises.
AN INTELLIGENT APPROACH to the marking of the ballot naturally includes the choosing of the best candidate, regardless of any political affiliation. Although in theory the candidate who defines his party as being the same as yours will most likely be the one who agrees with your position, but not necessarily. The inclusion of a (D) or an (R) behind a candidate's name is not enough. Doing some investigation of what positions and actions were taken prior to seeking this particular office proves to be a useful prescription. This brings to mind the old song, "Practice What You Preach" as "Actions do speak louder than words!"
FINALLY, WE MUST think of what other forces will be entrusted to the successful candidate and what could be unleashed somewhere down the road, long after this president has dedicated his library somewhere.
REMEMBERING THAT THE length of any President's being in office is limited to two four-year terms or 10 years; if because of death, the remainder of the previous President's term was finished by his successor. This was the case for Lyndon B. Johnson; who succeeded JFK on November 22, 1963. He was elected on his own in November of 1964, but declined to seek a second term on his own in 1968.
THE POINT IS that long after these chief executives are gone, the Supreme Court justices that they choose to appoint remain in office, for life on good conduct. So it stands to reason that if some so called "liberal" or "progressive" judge with an agenda to change our country with far and wide interpretation of our United States Constitution can and will continue to do so for 30, 40, 50 years. I don't know about you, but we've had our belly full of nonsensical federal court rulings. There's no telling just how far these activist judges will go. Ten years or so ago, who would think that marriage was anything but between one woman and one man. Even more recently, our public lavatories and school locker rooms are no longer subject to designation by one's sex; but rather by how one feels.
JUST IMAGINE WHAT the next wave of judges may decree! Will they order the churches to follow their decisions and compel our priests, ministers and rabbis to marry any and all in religious service marriage ceremonies? "Oh, we got you that time, Ryan!" we hear you saying. "Religious freedom is guaranteed under the First Amendment of our Constitution! That could never happen!" We tend to agree to a degree, but think of how our rights are being eroded.
THIS PAST YEAR, the Little Sisters of the Poor had to appeal to the United States Supreme Court because lower federal courts said that this Catholic order of nuns should be compelled to provide both birth control and abortion funding in the hospitalization plans for employees at their various facilities. They were being forced into paying, even though coverage could be obtained separately by any dissenting employees at no extra cost in other similar plans.Now we must ask the question, "Ten years ago, who would've thunk it?"
ALWAYS REMEMBER TO think about these incremental losses of our freedoms and how far reaching are the consequences of anointing/appointing the wrong type of judges. Here's hoping and praying that whoever our next chief executive may be, that those chosen to fill any and all vacancies on the Supreme Court share at least one common virtue.
AND THAT WOULD be the old fashioned quality of common sense!
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John T. “Red” Ryan is a retired Chicago police officer and Garfield Ridge resident.