Falling back on the Constitution | Our Corner

Well hasn't this election cycle been a sloppy bucket of fun.

Well hasn’t this election cycle been a sloppy bucket of fun.

Over the past few weeks when folks tell me the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump presidential election cycle is the worst ever, I point out the 1860 election. Abraham Lincoln won by defeating Northern Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge and John Bell representing the Constitutional Union Party.

Lincoln won with less than 40 percent of the vote. He moved into the White House by racking up a commanding lead in the electoral college. (For an excellent column on the electoral college read Rich Elfers’s Aug. 31 column on the website, www.courierherald.com/opinion/391923471.html.)

I read some newspapers from 1859-60 covering the election and various editors and letter writers voiced their opinions that America had never been forced to choose between such a pitiful collection of miscreants and malcontents with no moral core for the highest office in the land.

What year am I living in?

(Despite certain whispered allegations, I do not remember the 1860 election. At least not that I can recall.)

Now for the modern political world of twits and tawdry news-cycle upchucks.

Dorothy, I don’t even think we are in Oz anymore, and this sure isn’t Kansas.

I have been following presidential elections and covering local campaigns for longer than any current political leader has been in office (I think… at least that I can recall… if I’m wrong we will blame it on someone I will call Ray, but don’t tell him).

This one feels different.

I have been involved in some contentious campaigns complete with threats, late night phone calls and weirdness best kept inside my personal airspace.

I have not covered presidential elections like the daily reporters traveling with the candidates.

As a kid I watched and talked with my dad and mom about every election beginning with Adlai Stevenson and President Dwight Eisenhower’s run for a second term. I remember sitting in the car with my dad as we were driving back to our farm on a Saturday asking him why people called Stevenson an “egghead.”

There is always hostility in campaigns, despite the statements like “I’m going to keep it positive and I really do like puppies.” It is the nature of the game. I expect the hot plates to fire during campaigns. Candidates will get angry with each other and usually me sooner or later. It is the job and we all know it.

This time I sense something different. Maybe it has been too many elections, but puzzle pieces aren’t quite fitting.

I keep hearing Admiral Boom’s words from “Mary Poppins” as Bert directs us down to No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane.

Admiral Boom: “A word of advice, young man – storm signals are up at No. 17. Bit of heavy weather brewing there.”

Bit of heavy weather is the only words that fit for me.

In the years I have covered political and government stories, some very dyspeptic and dysfunctional, I have always fallen back on my comfortable statement.

The Constitution was written for the worst, to save us from the worst in ourselves. The document has done its job very well for more than 200 years. Many have tried to turn it into a religious tract, which it is not. Others have tried to bend it, break it or blot out offending section to fit their desires, rather than the needs of all. It withstood the storm and kept the country together.

When asked about assessing candidates and I can’t give a New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick answer to all questions, “going to Cleveland,” I fall back on the Constitution.

I know that will generate eye rolls, sighs and strangers pointing at me (when I didn’t do anything… really… not my fault… it is Ray’s fault, but don’t say anything).

So here is an easier way to assess your choice.

Does your candidate remember anything from kindergarten? How about, “eyes front, ears open.”

It is a place to start.

A bit of heavy weather may indeed be brewing on No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane.

More in Opinion

America is denying three hard truths

There are three major hard truths that our current government has been denying with great vigor: The Mueller Russia-U.S. Presidential election connection investigation, the war in Afghanistan, and the growing national deficit.

Promote the common good by ensuring individual liberty

Citizens following their passions and dreams improve the lot for all.

The three personas of President Trump

There’s Teleprompter Trump, Raw Meat Trump and Twitter Trump.

Carbon pricing won’t help environment, but will hurt taxpayers

How would a Washington carbon tax make a difference in the world “climate?”

It’s never enough

Based on numbers from the legislature, Enumclaw School District will be receiving huge funding increases from the state. Yet here we are with Enumclaw and a bunch of other districts telling the taxpayers, give us more, we need more.

Why are trailers allowed at Expo Center?

When my husband and I moved to our home in 2001 and for every year after the Expo Center grounds have always been pleasant to look at on your way to our home. No longer is this true.

Columnist sheds light on Koch brothers

Our economy, along with our political system, is broken and indeed destroying our democracy.

Vote ‘yes’ on replacement Education Programs levy

As a high school senior that has spent the entirety of my school life in Enumclaw, I know we have to take it upon ourselves to ensure the efficiency and inclusiveness of our school system.

Concern for common good is buried by greed

Tell big lies long and loudly enough and people will believe you.

Enumclaw boys, join the scouts

Troop 422 here in Enumclaw has taught me these things, and it has allowed me to be able to incorporate these things into my own life.

Concessions may be needed to enact carbon pricing

This is the sixth year Gov. Jay Inslee will try to convince lawmakers that the best means of fighting climate change is by making it more expensive to pollute.

Humility allows for tolerance of other’s opinions

Each of us has grown up in different circumstances. Each has been shaped by our life experiences. Each of us sees the world around us differently as a result. Why, then, should it be so difficult to understand that no two people will agree on every issue?