The Extra Mile

One of the happiest days of my life was the day I went to my favorite ice cream and hamburger chain for a banana split, and, while thinking about those scoops of strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream covered in various sugary toppings, I realized that I really didn’t care that much for strawberry ice cream. Wouldn’t the banana split, I wondered to myself, be better with another scoop of chocolate or vanilla instead? Then it occurred to me, while I was replacing the strawberry, why not replace the chocolate and vanilla, too?

So I asked the young woman behind the counter if I could replace the ice cream flavors on the banana split, and she told me that I could have any ice cream flavor they offered. My life was changed forever. Well, perhaps that’s a bit of hyperbole, but I have simple pleasures, like a banana split with three scoops of cookies and cream topped with caramel, whipped cream, and cherries. To me, that is a fair step toward heaven. If you have just had your ice cream minds blown, you’re welcome.

Looking back, it seems like it should have been obvious well before then, but I had honestly never even thought about it before. It’s a bit embarrassing that it hadn’t occurred to me earlier and thinking of all the years of settling for what I considered “normal banana splits“, when so many other options were available. Well, regardless, now I know, and my sweet tooth is that much the better for it. Apologies to all those who now find themselves craving ice cream.

So, while we’re talking about the blessings of ice cream freedom we as a nation should cherish and celebrate, it occurs to me that it should be odd that at the same time we have and expect so much freedom in something as mundane as ice cream sundaes, that we, being the very same freedom loving people, are so willing to settle when it comes to something as necessary and important as our political system. Why is it that, in a country where we constantly strive for the very best, we are at all willing to settle for the least worst?

…mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
-The Declaration of Independence

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Every four years, Americans citizens are presented with a vote redeemable for one President of the United States to lead the country. From a purely statistical standpoint, we are as likely to be disappointed with this purchase as not, because, while we can see other better candidates in the display case, only the most demanded candidate will be delivered to the White House in January the following year, and the conventional wisdom says that these other candidates are for display only.

When we look at the candidates in turn, the price of each is the same, fixed by necessities of politics and tradition: one vote. Usually one of the two major brand candidates offers enough of the features that we like and few enough of those that we do not that they are worth that price. What happens when both major party candidates are so clearly as appetizing as three scoops of anchovy ice cream? (Apologies to those whose ice cream craving I have just squashed.)

The shop keeper assures us that we must choose one of the two major candidates or else we are “wasting our vote“. That’s just the way it is, we are told by others in line. So that settles it, we have to pick one of those. Don’t we? Despite knowing that there are better options available, do we put aside our legitimate dissatisfaction and brace ourselves for fish and mash potato ice cream, or do we stand our ground and demand the chocolate chip cookie dough or cherry limeade?

…laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
-The Declaration of Independence

The bedrock foundation of our American philosophy has always been that our government and political system should reflect us as a people. If the terrible choices we have this year truly reflects us, then it is abundantly clear that either we need a new us or we need a new political system. The bad news is, we’re not going to get a new us. We’re stuck with who we are, so we have to get a new political system, but, short of an open revolution, we’re stuck with our political system for the meantime.

So, what do we do? That depends. If someone you truly love right through the middle of you favors a certain flavor of ice cream but it can only be found in a store across town, do you go the extra mile to get that which will make them happiest? Is not the pursuit of happiness what being American is all about? If you are truly an American, believing in your God given right to pursue happiness, and you love America right through the middle of you, how could you settle for what we have been offered?

When we look at the candidates offered, foisted on us by grotesque pride and bawling envy, how on Earth can we settle? We are still Americans. We do not settle for the liars and thieves. We do not turn to our children and say “This is the best we could do.”, when clearly we can do much better. We do not settle for less than what we bargained for, and we get what we paid for. While lesser men and women will trade their votes for counterfeit leaders, we will spend our votes on only the best, because if we do not demand it, we do not deserve it.

…in estimating every man’s value either in private or public life, a pure integrity is the quality we take first into calculation, and that learning and talents are only the second.
-Thomas Jefferson

In this election, there are several better options, but I have in mind one in particular. He is an imperfect candidate, but we are obviously an imperfect people. While flawed, however, he seems a man of honor and integrity. He has served his country with bravery and dignity. He approaches problems with the principle of compassion, balanced with a firm grasp of reality. Tempered as my support may be for some of his domestic policies, he seems an honest man. America deserves an honest man.

Of the available candidates running for the office of President of the United States, Liberty is For The Win proudly endorses Evan McMullin. Long may Liberty rein.



Liberty is For The Win!

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