Posted by Ron on Thursday, August 30, 2012
I am a little tongue-in-cheek about lifting the title of this post from the infamous Monty Python television show…but it is so appropriate.
This blog has never been a haven for political discourse or opinion, and I don’t intend to change that…I simply have some observations to share. We (here in the US) are in the throes of a national election campaign season. I used the word throes, because definitively, it means, “the effects of severe physical pain”. Yep, it is that time again.
I qualify the context of this post by pointing out things that I am convinced drive the tenor of political campaigns. Grace and dignity have been abandoned and muck-raking has become the norm. I fear that we have become a society driven by the sensationalism of “Reality TV”, instant gratification and a chemically altered water supply. I am kidding…sort of. We are told by broadcast networks that we crave reality television, and they expand the dribble we have to watch, but I think (and hope) that it is a matter of reality TV being cheap to produce, highly profitable for the networks, and so if we watch, it is because we have fewer choices. I honestly hope that there is not an undecided voting population that is holding out to see who “Snooki” endorses as a candidate.
If we listen to the radio, or watch the news, we cannot avoid the political assault that permeates the air-ways on all sides. This candidate doesn’t pay taxes, that candidate is an illegal alien (no planet of origin specified), and on and on. In the end and historically for decades, we elect the person who sucks least…regardless of qualifications. We have either forgotten how to, or maybe never knew how to promote and elect the REAL best person for the job. I cite President Carter as a good example. He is a man I admire greatly and is a proven humanitarian who by the way was awarded a Nobel Prize. An intelligent, compassionate, genuinely good person who as a scientist was elected in a state of economic crisis…not a good match. President Bush Jr. was elected to office (a lawyer) who was handed the attacks on 911, and hurricane Katrina, among other things. Regardless of your feelings about how he handled it all, the fact is he is a single human being, did not control all of the actions taken, and at those points, NONE of us had experienced anything like those events before, so how can we blame one person if it didn’t work out the way we wanted?
The truth of the matter is that I want everyone to sit down in a dark room, in a comfortable chair, close their eyes, breath deep and grow a conscience. Politics has been a dangerous snowball rolling downhill and growing for decades. In my opinion the last significant piece of legislature passed in 5 decades, was the Civil Rights Act under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in 1964. Since then, anything good was accidental, opportunistic, and fodder for congressional job security.
A few years ago I was very fortunate in meeting and becoming friends with a prestigious economist who is a Nobel awardee and a professor at a mid-western Ivy League university. As part of the reason for his award, he accurately defined and predicted economic trends including today’s current downturn, and offered preventive solutions for the future. He appeared in front of a congressional committee and his words fell on deaf ears, and his ideas were ignored and dismissed. I spoke with him a little while ago and begged him to run for political office. He laughed out loud and said, “Why would I do that? Give up my career in a place I love, have my life flayed open for close examination and ridicule, so that I can fight for four years to get 452 morons in Congress to make the right decisions and help this country? No thank you. I have alimony payments to three ex-wives, and that alone would be my downfall. No, I don’t need the pay increase that badly.” He laughed, I laughed, and I dropped the subject.
So to that end what I am suggesting is that for many decades, we have elected people willing to take a pay cut; who had ambition without vision, and we only have ourselves to blame. For years regardless of who is elected to the presidency, our focus has been what we complain about and don’t like, and not real people with real solutions to heal our pain…and the cycle resets.
Every President since…ever has been elected by a minority of the eligible population. In 2008, 58.9% of eligible voters registered, and only 63% of those actually voted!
So here is my final point. The 41% of eligible voters who didn’t register, and the 37% who registered and didn’t vote in the last election…REGISTER, VOTE, or simply shut up and expect nothing in return, as that is all the effort you put into our political/economic state as it exists today. For those who registered, voted and are angry today…LIGHTEN UP! Until we as a society move away from the notions of elections being a solution of the lesser of two evils, or a popularity contest, history will repeat itself over and over and to date, every great empire in history has fallen to extinction. Don’t be so foolish as to imagine it can’t happen today.
I have faith in human kind (naively perhaps) and ask you to go to a dark room, in a comfortable chair, clear your mind and really think about what can help everyone…not just you. To use a sports analogy (I am not a sports person) if a coach keeps putting third string players on the field, he cannot reasonably expect victory. Let’s stop electing the third string and recruit and encourage the real minds that can design and make positive change. We face another very important election in very trying times, and the third string is on the field…on both teams! No one human can solve all of our angst and no one human deserves all of the credit or blame for results. In the case of this election year we also have 452 barnacles in Congress to think about and none of them are above shame.
Food for thought.
I’m just saying.