To the point week of 10-30-08

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SO HERE WE ARE less than a week from history in this country. By the time you read the next issue of Vevay Newspapers, we will either be preparing for the inauguration of the country’s first minority President; or its first female Vice President.

Depending on which side wins the White House, citizens will be excited, while others will be disappointed. We will look at which party is in control of Congress; and we will wonder what the next year will bring us.

But there is one thing that – next Thursday – we will all agree on.

Thank goodness it’s over.

Win or lose, at this point most of us really don’t care, because we are so sick of political ads that declare one candidate to hold this position or another candidate who holds that position. We will see millions of dollars spent in 30- and 60-second efforts to sway our vote; and we’ll wonder what would happen if that money would have been directed in another direction.

Honestly, when was the last time that a political ad changed your mind? For that matter, when’s the last time that you heard something in a political debate that caused you to switch from one candidate to another?

For the most part, people make up their minds and then dig their heels in. Here something negative about your choice of candidate, and it must be a lie. Hear something negative about the candidate you don’t like, and immediately it becomes the Gospel truth.

The truth is, we are quickly becoming a nation who relies more on the information found in a forwarded email than what we choose to learn for ourselves. We have all seen the various reports of the positions of one candidate or another at the national level; and depending on who sent them to us, we either believe it or we deny it.

At a national level, we now see campaigns that are so wrapped up “spinning” public opinion that we as a voting public never get to hear how a candidate really feels.

This week we have seen reports that high officials in the McCain campaign aren’t happy with Sarah Palin because she “strayed from the script” at a couple of appearances. Seems that while she was on her flight to an appearance, the campaign staff emailed her what she was supposed to say.

Nothing else – just that.

The problem is, someone asked Sarah Palin a question, and she had the “gall” to answer it. But her answer wasn’t in the “script”, so handlers got upset.

How dare a candidate actually tell us how he or she feels about an issue?

Since she was introduced as John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin has characterized herself as an “outsider” who will go against the flow of Washington.

In that, she may have been telling us the truth, because when she does go against the flow, even her own party and her own campaign throw a fit.

I kind of like that.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if a candidate stood up and – in the words of the late Howard Cosell – “told it like it is”.

The Washington elite would cringe. Other elected officials would distance themselves from the candidate.

But the American public might just respond favorably.

How dare us.

The truth is that, no matter what level a candidate is running for office at, it is very hard to actually state a position and then stand and defend it. Candidates are either trying to get elected, or they’re trying to stay in office, and they’ll say whatever they have to; to whomever they have to, to get what they want.

Maybe we should all long for the days of “old fashioned” politics.

It was suggested that Congressman Baron Hill and challenger Mike Sodrel hold their debate while hooked up to lie detector machines. That may sound fun to the general public, but the truth is that there is very little black and white in Washington that the entire political process is now covered in gray.

Every answer to every question is the truth; and every answer to every question is also inaccurate.

It’s all gray, and politicians take advantage of that to spin it however you want it to sound.

My idea?

Back in the days of Championship Wrestling, they used to have matches where the loser left town. Never to return.

I think that’s a great idea for the Hill-Sodrel match.

The loser leaves town. Well, not actually leave town, just leave the political process. We’ve been back and forth so much that the congressional seat in the Ninth District of Indiana is now a national political football. Millions of dollars are poured in with the hope that the seat will move from one side of the aisle to the other.

We just want someone who cares about us.

So, in the spirit of politics, and professional wrestling, I urge Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel in the coming days to announce that – if they lose the election on Tuesday – they won’t run for the seat again. They will move on and step aside.

Now that’s politics. And that’s something that would make me care about the results of next Tuesday’s election.