I can remember a time when the issues of the day took the fore. Debates focused on positions on policy. Candidates duked it out on the basis of their views. At the ripe old age of 48, I am nothing if not nostalgic.
These days we have fringe groups fighting to out-hate each other. Career politicians doing there best to speak at length without expressing a single point of view. Personalities are far more important than policies, leadership, intelligence or ability.
‘News’ organizations focus on the Wikken, the bears, the Goddies, the angry. The more outrageous you are, the more likely you’ll make the headlines. When O’Donnell refused to express her actual thoughts on evolution, even though she had before, I just thought ‘who cares’? Does Ms. O’Donnell know how to manage a budget, run an office, do the job she’s running for? Hard to tell from the coverage. And it shouldn’t be hard at all. It’s obvious.
I could blame her, blame the election process, whatever. There’s two problems here. The media and the people.
The media is as pathetic at news as I am at knitting (and no, I can’t knit – thanks for asking). Case in point, the Chilean miners story. Aside from the fact that it must have been a slow news day when CNN had to show every single miner coming out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great story. I am thrilled these men survived and are back with their families. But when the frenzy goes so far as to point out one of the miners had his mistress meet him and start questioned whether his wife was aware, what’s wrong with you??? And now the story is about how famous they’ll be and how much money and free crap they’ll get! Why? Because THAT’s the important part of this story???? Come on!
And then there’s people. I’m at a perpetual loss as to how people form opinions. It isn’t by thinking. Certainly not by understanding what’s happening. How can any sane American not understand that the bailout was a necessity and that millions and millions of more jobs would have been lost had it not been executed? I can understand people thinking timing might have been off on health care if it indeed increases the deficit. However I would really like people to ask each other what’s right. In a world where health care is universal in every developed country but the US, don’t you at least wonder? Do you really not believe that everyone deserves care?
Some of my people issues have to do with the fact that they don’t bother to actually find out the reality. They listen to the swayed jargon and just accept it. You would think that people in a developed nation might be more intellectually curious. Unfortunately education doesn’t point them that way. In today’s system the US is the best no matter what. Perhaps someone should show the educators the statistics.
I also think that the constant push of capitalism contributes to this way of thinking (or, rather, not thinking). When people are constantly told that money is the answer and that you HAVE to go get it, it skews the mind to forget that ALL people are important. For such a supposedly Christian (and no, I do not believe that to be true in any way, shape or form) nation, there is a significant lack of empathy for your fellow Americans let alone your fellow man.
You may question what that has to do with elections, but it has everything to do with policy. Sorry folks, policy is what should drive elections, not what Christine is currently mixing in her cauldron or what Sarah is currently growling about today.
So ask yourself this: If and when I step into the polling booth on Nov 2 (or any election day), why did I pick this candidate?
You may be surprised at what you realize. Of course I live in this pipe dream world that anyone reading this would actually stop and think about it and maybe, just maybe, change their thinking. But hey, I can dream!
And since we all deserve a little fun and a little sanity, check out Oprah and Stephen Colbert on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart last night!