Back to Driving Force, Fall 2016


Choosing Wisely Starts With Deciding to Choose
By Colby Martin


  Make plans now to visit your polling place on election day. While some choices on the ticket may not be appealing, the choice to participate in the process of electing the nation’s leadership on November 8 is the most critical decision.

When it comes to the sheer amount of options available, has there ever been a better time to be a gearhead? It’s hard to ignore the endless selection of vehicles and parts easily accessible to auto aficionados today. A vast array of information is available at one’s fingertips. A rare find is often as close as the time it takes to surf the internet using key search terms. The doors to one’s imagination are now open wide.

An abundance of choices can also be found within the U.S. political process. While the nation’s Founding Fathers sought to create a limited government that would fairly represent the interests of its citizens, it also provided for frequent elections that were intended to create a pool of talented and committed lawmakers. They also recognized the need for several branches that would share powers and check each other’s actions. Of course, the federal government shares this responsibility with state governments that have their own executive, legislative and judicial bodies.

Every four years, come election time, the nation’s political focus quickly shifts to the highest office above all others: the U.S. presidency. It comes as no surprise that the office of chief executive is the topic of most discussion among the electorate. Campaign slogans, advertisements, debates, interviews, conventions and related hype fill media channels long before the polls open. Today’s 24-hour news cycle has allowed countless outlets to provide complete coverage of the latest drama. Gone are the days of decorum for public figures, especially politicians. This overload of information has converged to create one of the most unpredictable presidential races in recent memory.

This year, both major political parties had their fair share of surprises on the road to nominating their respective candidates. While the number of those vying for the nation’s top leadership position has been winnowed, the number of opinions about them has multiplied. A common truth has emerged from the chaos of each camp: Americans are fed up with the status quo in Washington, D.C. Fresh approaches to running the nation and heeding the will of the people are being demanded in both polite and more polarizing language. In the midst of this fuss, this year’s choices are ranking at the lowest level of favorability in decades. What is clear is that all rules of traditional races have been broken. Will the outcome of November’s big day be as much of a surprise as the rest of the journey has been?

Whether the top of the 2016 ticket appeals to you or not, do not ignore your civic duty come Election day: VOTE! Your right to participate in this year’s process is a privilege granted to you and all other citizens equally. After all, the presidency is only one race. The slew of other contests at other lower levels of government will have a much more direct impact on policies that matter most to you and to the auto hobby. To get an idea about how these elections will shape the future, read this issue’s cover story. Finally, tune out the noise as you head to the voting booth. Just like picking that perfect ride for your garage, make the choice that feels right to you.