To the point week of 10-28-10


FOR THE PAST COUPLE OF months, I’ve written on occasion about the vile nature of the upcoming election. With the advent of the Internet, bloggers, and candidates and their “handlers” who seem to find no moral sense in whatever attack they choose to embark on; this has been an election season like none other.

Before we continue, some background:

To say I grew up in a political family would be an understatement. I seriously don’t recall a time when I wasn’t conscience of an election going on. As a little boy I helped fill bags with campaign materials; hung around polling places with my dad, rode along as my father and others gave people rides to the polls; and generally thought I knew it all about politics.

Coming from a union family, I was up on all of the Democratic candidates and their issues; and I took election day very personally.

When Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 Presidential Election, I remember feeling so sick that I wanted to go home from school.

I was seven.

I remember 1972, when Democratic Presidential candidate George McGovern selected Missouri Senator Tom Eagleton as his Vice President, only to discover a short time later that Senator Eagleton had been treated for some mental disorders.

He withdrew in what at that time was “in disgrace”; and Nixon won a second term that he was going to win, anyway.

I remember the glorious feeling of Jimmy Carter’s victory in 1976; and the disbelief in his convincing loss four years later. For decades I’ve heard people talk about how Carter was the worst President ever, but his work for humanity after leaving office tells me that sometimes it is possible to be too good to hold the office.

I lived through Colorado Senator Gary Hart daring the press to follow him around during the 1988 Presidential campaign. At 27 I knew that wasn’t a very good idea, and soon after Donna Rice became a household name – and Gary Hart lost his presidential bid.

I lived through Bill Clinton and blue dresses and cigars and impeachment. The funny thing, I truly believe that if he could find a way to run again, he’d be reelected in a landslide – and I’m not sure what that says about our society.

So I’ve lived through a lot in my political life, and as I age I get a little (okay, a lot) less liberal and much more moderate. Not quite sure I’m all the way to “conservative” yet, but time will tell.

But make no mistake, this is not an issue solely targeted at one political party. This is not “pointing a finger” at Democrats or Republicans for the manner in which this election season has been handled. What’s gone on is well past the political party system. There is enough blame to go around.

Having seen all of that, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anything like the election of 2010. It has been filled with lies and half-truths, and what I term as “kid truths”.

You know what a “kid truth” is, if you’re a parent.

That’s when what your child tells you is actually true as it is presented, but there’s also more of the story that you aren’t being told. They stop short of telling you the rest, which most of the time contradicts what the point of the story is.

You walk away from your child thinking you’ve got the whole story, only to run into another parent who fills in the gaps.

Election 2010 has “lots of gaps”.

We have deteriorated as a society to the point where our elected officials and those who want to be our elected officials don’t believe that we have the intelligence to make up our own minds. They don’t think we can be given credible information, consider it, and then make a decision as to whether or not we will allow it to impact our voting preference.

Instead, voters stand in the middle between candidates who are so busy slinging mud and innuendo that they fail to see that it is the citizenry and political system that gets hit with all the muck.

So, at this point, I – like many of you – simply want it to end.

Wednesday, November 3rd, will be a proverbial “Day of Rest” for all of us who are tired of what now defines a “free election”.

Unfortunately, it will also be the day that the November 2nd losers begin to mount their counter attacks, preparing for the next election.

It never seems to end, and at some point, after dealing with it, I feel like I need to take a shower to get the “political crud” off. I listen to people who tell me to trust them, and when it’s over I just feel slimy.

Some candidates will hide behind national and state committees when the dirty work is done; so when it boomerangs back and hits them in a negative light, they simply say “Hey, it was the national (guys) guys. I had nothing to do with it”.

Yes you did, so don’t bother denying it. Again, you must take us for fools.

You should see some of the emails that flood into this office on a daily basis from national political committees. Some are so twisted that you want to laugh - or cry. Do they really believe that someone would believe all of this?

Less than a week from the election, I’m sure there are candidates on both sides that don’t feel like Vevay Newspapers has given them a “fair shot”, but the truth is, this staff ponders and frets over each and every piece of election information that we print, and I know that we have been fair to both sides of the aisle, as hard as it has been sometimes.

I don’t know who will be our next elected officials, but by the time you read the November 4th issue of this newspaper I can only hope that those who are elected will stand up and recognize the job that has to be done, and will then get about the business of doing it.

We don’t need anymore “politicians”, we have plenty of those. What we need is someone – anyone – who truly cares for us and about us. About our present, and our children’s future.

It’s too important to be reduced to soundbites and winks and nods. We need better. We deserve better.

We should demand better.