The “Most Important Election of Our Lifetime” Fallacy
As libertarians, we’ve no doubt heard with every election that THIS one is the “most important election of our lifetime.” Even those who’ve decided to no longer participate in voting and elections are not immune.
Typically, it’s a hyper-partisan individual who is heavily invested in one side of the “horse race” for President, Governor, or Congress making the statement, and they have a litany of reasons why their candidate is “The One.”
To many of us, it’s a broken record. Whether it’s the appointment of Supreme Court justices, ending pointless wars, staving off economic collapse, or fighting back socialism, the refrain from both sides is essentially the same each time it’s shared. It’s been the same since I started paying attention to elections in 1992 and neither George H.W. Bush nor Bill Clinton really spoke to me as they campaigned for President.
The idea that THIS YEAR will be what changes everything is an extension of a societal desire for immediate gratification…like the J. G. Wentworth commercials: “I WANT IT NOW!”
While a sense of urgency is necessary, things do not change overnight, nor will they even over a politician’s term. Patience and hard work bring the change we seek.
The slogan and rhetoric from the 2008 Obama campaign, “Change We Can Believe In,” tapped into the desire for immediate overhaul. What we saw over the last eight years wasn’t much change. It was a continuation of the same. The wars didn’t end. The cronies still got their goodies. Even Guantanamo Bay remains open and operational today.
Actual, sustainable change takes time. It is the result of many in their efforts to win over hearts and minds. It is not achieved in a single election, a new law, or a Supreme Court decision.
As in the story I recounted in the Tell More Stories article a couple of weeks ago, slow and steady wins the race. That goes for growth as well, whether for an entire philosophy or certain aspects.
I’ve been on the inside as an elected official, and bureaucracy does move with the speed of molasses. In the winter. Uphill. Unless there is a manufactured urgency to DO SOMETHING, when a the square peg will be shoved into a round hole.
We haven’t won over the hearts and minds yet though. We have a long way to go in that regard. When large numbers of people begin to value freedom the same way that you and I do, we can focus our conversations there and on our path to electoral successes, if they are even necessary.
There is no silver bullet. We are building a movement for Liberty, and that growth doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s happening faster with each passing day.
Remember, politicians and laws don’t change hearts and minds, and we don’t win anything without those.