Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Problem with Politics

Jennifer and I have been discussing ways to cut our monthly expenses and one of the first things that come up is the cable television. I must admit that I often bristle when the mention comes up, but lately I have been giving it more thought. Yes, watching the news on TV is still depressing and maybe worse than it has ever been and the prime time programs often shock me and do not represent the kind of morals and lifestyles that I want to watch. If it were not for watching sports and the weather I would probably have gotten rid of it a long time ago.
Recently I have gotten closer and closer to pulling the plug. Why now you ask? It has everything to do with this being an election year. I know, November is a couple of months off and it is only going to get worse. I also know that each candidate needs to get their message out but do all campaign ads have to be so negative?  It seems like we cannot watch TV for even a few minutes without being bombarded with negative campaign ads.
I am not one of those people who could care less about the elections. Quite the contrary, I find the election process fascinating and I take my right to vote very, very seriously. However, I despise the one ups-man-ship of gotcha ads. The worst of all the ads are the ads paid for by special interest political action committees. Nothing seems to be off limits to these groups and the “facts” they portray are often very skewed or slanted to their agenda.
OK, before any of you affiliated with either of the two major parties start to gloat, I am pointing the finger at both parties equally. Let’s be frank and honest, we are all at fault for allowing the election process to travel down this road. It is increasingly harder and harder to get our attention; we have become a society of sound bites and sensationalism. Very few of us take the time to sit down and analyze each candidate’s position on areas we consider important.
I know it is a cycle that each campaign falls into and often because of the PACs the candidate has little or no control over the ads. I also know it is much easier to criticize your opponent than it is to develop and defend ideas and positions. In the rare instance when a candidate does have a plan or takes a stand, they are immediately attacked from all angles because of it. Negative ads catch our attention and we often let them sway our opinions and that has got to stop.
Yes, I know at least we vote. I saw the statistics from the primary and the vote count was pitiful and that is a real shame. We should view the election process much like if we were hiring employees, because that is really what we are doing. We are hiring the people we are going to trust to run our government.  Just think about what you would do if you were hiring and the person wanting the job brought you a resume’ not filled with their accomplishments and qualifications but with negative information about the other people who were interviewing.
This is what I want to see from all candidates for all elected positions. First, I want to know why you are running for the office.  What was the reason you put yourself on the ballot? What are your core beliefs and values and give examples.  What qualifications, education and/ or talents do you have that you think make you a good candidate for this position? Finally, what would you like to see accomplished and what is your plan for the future? Those are answers I would like to see.
I know that is too much too expect and too much of an idealistic view. Why is that? Politics and campaigns are that way because we do not demand anything different. That is also why our current government is bogged down in finger pointing and partisan politics. The saddest thing is that this will not change until more of us get involved, ask for more information from our candidates takes the time to analyze that information and ultimately vote based upon the information. I believe in our great nation and I believe that we can and we will rise above all of this. However, it will take each of us making that conscious effort to do so.

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