I live in Ohio – the mother of all battleground states.
If you listen to the rhetoric from the candidates – trust me, it is getting a lot harder to do so- one regularly hears such hyperbolic phrases as “the most important election in a generation”; “the future of the country is at stake”; and, currently my favorite, “we may not survive if ‘X’ or ‘Y’ is elected”.
So much of the blather and bluster is tiresome – and worse, valueless.
Except, in a few cases.
And it is here that the true dilemma facing America’s voters reveals itself.
The great arc of American history is underpinned not by the struggle between Democrats/Republicans, liberals/conservatives, left/right, etc.
It is the ongoing, never-ending clash between freedom and equality.
It rests in the most fundamental- and complex- question of them all:
How can we as Americans be both free and equal at the same time?
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident that all men are created EQUAL, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness…” (italics mine)
Freedom, which in its economic form is represented by capitalism, naturally results in inequality.
Equality, by its nature, restricts liberty.
America is the story of seeking a balance between the two: a balance which will never be fully achieved.
It speaks well of the Republic that our quadrennial emotion spills out on a field where the participants wield neither guns nor cannon for the sake of gaining mere power; but, instead, wage their fight in pursuit of these greatest of all human principles.