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The ancient art of rhetoric, the use of language to inform, persuade, and motivate, has been discarded. Why go to all the effort of informing and persuading when you can skip directly to motivating those who already share your views? Vituperation is just so much easier than persuasion, and so much more fun; and being validated is so much more comforting than being informed.

I have always looked for opportunities to split my vote: to vote for candidates, regardless of party, whose efforts I think would contribute to the public good. I believe that no party has a monopoly of good ideas, and it follows that no party should have a monopoly of power; that every voice should be heard, and that nobody should be shouted down.

Sadly, I haven’t felt comfortable splitting my vote in a long time. Politics, at every level, has become too mindless and automatic. Show me a politician’s party affiliation, and I can pretty well predict what he will say or do in any given situation.

What, you say, the sun rises in the east? Nay, sir, only a dastard such as yourself would make such an outrageous claim! I shall declare my own position on the matter in due time, but you, sir, are clearly a scoundrel and a liar!

Sometimes I wish we would emulate the Taiwanese: they eschew sound bites, and actually trade punches. Can’t you see it?

WWE Presents: the Presidential Debates, Live on PPV! Let’s Get Ready to Vote!

Maybe we could replace the party leaders with Rock’em, Sock’em Robots®.

As I said, I find precious few opportunities to spread my vote around. Regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on, you’re likely to find nothing between you and your opposite but the empty air of a bottomless chasm. Most likely, anyone you might have compromised with has long since been thrown into that chasm. The very idea of building a bridge is anathema, and anybody who promises to “reach across the aisle” is either a hopeless romantic or swinging a hatchet.

This makes me very sad, but I have to keep voting. If I don’t, those stupid bastards on the other side might win, and civilization would collapse.