Mark Washburn

Searching for our invisible undecideds

A roll of "I VOTED" stickers are placed on a table behind a display of the U.S. and N.C. flags during preparation of Precinct 106 at McClintock Middle School for June 6 voting.
A roll of "I VOTED" stickers are placed on a table behind a display of the U.S. and N.C. flags during preparation of Precinct 106 at McClintock Middle School for June 6 voting.

Only those of you with two close friends in a bitter divorce know what’s coming.

Both presidential candidates came to town last week to offer their visions of the nation’s future. Because North Carolina is a swing state, they will be back, again and again.

We will get to host the vituperative assaults from each side, and we’ve brought it upon ourselves.

Because we can’t make up our mind.

North Carolina is one of 11 states divided so closely that candidates will be swooping in like teenagers drawn to pizza. They want to win over the undecided voters.

Did you hear Trump and Clinton at the conventions? Could there be a single voter left here who hasn’t decided between the crook and the demagogue?

You see people all the time who can’t decide which lane they belong in or who are torn between Cam and Luke.

But I’ve met no one wobbling on the question of their presidential choice. Even most preschool kids have made up their minds. It’s the most polarizing choice the nation has ever faced in its entire history of the last four years.

I hear those who ask how, out of a nation of 320 million, are these the best candidates available. But you hear that from pro quarterback scouts, too.

Yes, there is an alternative Libertarian candidate. His name, and write it down so you don’t forget, is Gary Johnson.

Everybody knows about a dozen guys named Gary Johnson and I don’t want you hogging up the voting machine on Election Day wondering which one it is.

Gary Johnson will get trounced because:

▪  People have to write down his name.

▪  He clearly knows nothing about being presidential because he runs a dignified campaign based on issues rather than trashing opponents.

Our electoral process is the envy of the world. It is set up to produce, through a series of grueling primaries, the two most perfect candidates our great nation can summon.

After surviving months of heckling and humiliations from friendly foes of their own parties, the candidates emerge triumphant from their chaotic conventions, ready to battle during the last 100 days for the hearts and minds of the American electorate.

Distilled from this pageant of democracy are two combatants who appear to be earnest, committed and unwavering in their absolute loathing of one another.

Political rhetoric in this country has always been a nasty business but not like this. Now, cable news networks have amplified the dissonance and social media reminds you how half your acquaintances are nuts.

We’ll be seeing this fight from ringside thanks to our status as a toss-up state. I want you to go into the hinterlands and search for these invisible, equivocal undecideds whose hands hold the very pillars of Western civilization.

Find them and tell them to knock it off. Make up your minds, you flip-floppers, so we may find some peace from this ugly fray.

Republican nominee for President, Donald Trump, and his running mate, Mike Pence, spoke to veterans about the need for VA reform at the 117th Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Charlotte on July 26, 2016.

Presumptive Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton spoke at the VFW convention on Monday, July 25 at the Charlotte Convention Center. She told veterans that she deeply cared about problems affecting them and expressed her disappointment with the