America: The Grand Experiment

America: The Grand Experiment

Today, I voted. I hope many others do but traditionally, only about half of eligible Americans do vote. The trend has seen that number come down from the elections in the 1960s. It’s a right many in the world will fight and die for and we take for granted. Granted free elections have been going on here for a long time and it’s not so new. Many my age never knew segregation of the races or genders. I can only imagine if my grandparents were alive how different it must be now from their first voting experience.

The elections have become theatre and a poor show at that of late. We’ve not had a great one-liner in a long time. “Thousand points of Light” or an “Ask not what your country can do for you but…” Where did that go? Why are we accepting mediocrity from our candidates? Most of us feel it has truly become the lesser of two evils. Our country is going to the shitter just ask anyone!

I watched David McCullough on “60 Minutes” this past weekend and it was a fascinating story. He joked the nations been in or near the rim of despair pretty much every election. I’m doubtful one day I’ll miss Bill Clinton but you never know. The beauty of our free society is that everyone has an opinion and with social media can share it about a thousand times a day, in a thousand different ways.

I have faith in the frameworks of the US Constitution. I love how compromise built the promise of our country back when we were a flicker of democracy and more sedition than Republic! It must be hard to be President since you get compared to history for all time. George Washington was a brilliant man who was able to balance tyranny with promise. Lincoln helped connect a fractured nation. FDR had to dig us out and then take on a new role as the world’s policeman. LBJ set right what had been so wrong for far too long. Reagan beat the Red Tide.

There are such great social issues we face today – same sex marriage, race, inequality of wealth amongst our citizens. These divide us deeply when I wonder why they’re even an issue. How are these not fundamental rights like the founding fathers wrote about? Where is the enlightenment of today? When I live my daily life, it doesn’t impact me personally if two men or women love each other. It saddens me they can’t have basic rights like all couples. Gender and race are still a problem? Really? We’re Americans and supposed to try to be better. When did we get envious of others wealth and demand they pay more? How much is enough? When will we be efficient and not have to worry about who’s paying what because it’s just paid for!

I know I make it sound simple and perhaps too easy. But let me ask you – why is it so hard? The barriers we’ve set up are our own. Life for me was put in to perspective five years ago when I saw my step-dad die from cancer in 10 months. There was nothing anyone could do. Life came in to perspective very quickly for me. Why are we all trying to hurt one another? What do we gain? Why is it so important to be right? We’re all on the same team and on that team by luck of birth location!

The world today watches our election. Some may wonder why only 50ish% will vote when their country sees 90% turnout. Others wonder what it must be like to vote in a free election. It’s amazing because be honest – when have we ever really cared about another countries election? Can you name the Canadian Prime Minister? Did you know they didn’t have a President? Everyone is watching yet we seem to treat this privilege like a shitty 8th grade class election rife with innuendo and rumor. That’s not new it’s been happening from the beginning. But why does it take a catastrophic storm to bring us together? This should be the time for new ideas and improving on old ones.

I love America and the dream for many thather ideals represent. I’m honored to be a part of this grand experiment and part of what began as treasonous talk to live a better life. I’m glad to live in a country governed by honored representation not a monarchy or in today’s world corruption.

I hope you vote. I hope you care. But no matter what, I hope you still care and have hope when today is done. We’re all on the same team no matter what!

Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at Joe also contributes to Chicago and

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