What is more important: Ideas or personality?

We are almost at the end of 2019 year and heading into 2020 where we again as Americans will head to the ballot box to vote for who should take the helm of our nation’s government.

This isn’t to rag on conservatives or liberals but to try and focus on why we vote and what we have elections for. I am a firm believer in democracy and the battle of ideas therein, but I feel we have left those ideals by the wayside.

We have gotten away from understanding the policies that once helmed the debate of our nation and have gone into a battle of egos and personalities. While many know that I am not the biggest fan of our current president, my disdain for his personality is overshadowed by my utter anger at his lack of ideas, and the same goes for my disdain for Hilary Clinton’s lack of policy and her warmongering in the 2016 election cycle.

Going into the 2020 cycle, it seems to me as though we are just continuing and escalating this trend of choosing the personality over the policy and ideas.

Our once former vice president now candidate for president is puffing his chest out and slinging insults at his opponents much like our current president does now. Is this the way politics is going to be, like a schoolyard of blustering children?

Those who have decided to act like schoolyard bullies have decided to double down into these ways with many of their supporters following suit, backing not their ideas but their personalites.

Points in history have shown us that following a personality has major downsides when it comes to elected officials. I need not name names, I hope, but countries such as Italy, Germany, Iraq and others have followed the personalities of strong men and have at one point or another fallen into ruin.

Ideas are what should lead our elections, listening to the candidates on their merits and how they plan to help America and its people. We have major issues that need addressing in this country: Health care, income inequality, major infrastructure failure, climate change, endless foreign conflicts and most of all, education reform. These should be the reasons we go and vote, not so we can vote for the person who has the loudest voice in the room or who can insult someone the best.

Least of all, voting for what many saw as “the lesser of two evils” like we saw in the 2016 general election, that should never be an option. We should have the best of the best to vote for.

The battle of personalities has fed into this political divide as well; I feel we, as a nation, have not been so divided since just before the American Civil War. One side says the other is communist, while other side is called fascist. This has led the Overton Window to shift to the fringes of both sides in many aspects.

The logical debate of ideas led us through some of the most prosperous times in our nation’s history, and I wish to see a return to decorum and compromise in our halls of government.

But I fear the recent political upheaval is just going to grow with so many following the personalities of politicians and ignoring the importance of ideas. I only hope when the time comes in November 2020, we as Americans can remember that it was the ideas placed in our constitution that founded our nation, not the personalities of the men who wrote it.