Electing a President is a lot like a colonoscopy. The prep is the worst part. The electorate finds themselves sitting through months and months of political advertising, speeches and ad nauseum political bantering by experts no more qualified to offer an astute opinion than the man running their local car wash. Is it any wonder that at about this time in the election process, we the voter get a little glassy eyed and very adept at hitting the mute button on our televisions!
Yet here we are year after year, as if it has never happened before, wondering whose ahead in the polls and who is just one candid quip away from knocking himself out of the race in Ohio! Asking ourselves over and over why no candidate to this point who has lost Ohio in their bid for the Presidency has become President? As if that were the only defining factor in deciding who wins this election.
For sure what seems like it should be a simple process has become as of late very complicated and one fueled by political action committees, corporations and candidates spending gelatinous amounts of money on advertising themselves and every negative they can come up with about their opponent. Truth does not seem to be a part of either party’s candidate’s offering, creating a whole new news sidebar for us to ponder as we try to ascertain who actually said the truth to us. If we add to that the endless calls seeking not so much our vote but a check to help defray expenses, one can often feel the process of raising money has actually gained more importance than the actual voting!
It is no wonder that the real issues affecting us seem to have fallen through the cracks. The debates were suppose to help us learn about the candidates and how they feel about the real issue affecting us. This last Presidential debate however offered us little more than a critique of current wins and losses addressed and what lies ahead by the President, and an entire dream sheet of “I will do this and that if I can”, by his challenger. Underlying the “if I can”.
The fact that one candidate has no idea what he is getting into regarding a world that views Americas place in it as less and less a protector than a support to their bottom line budgets seems to escape the contender and very much in the mind of the current President, who appears to not want to offend anyone, least of those listening abroad. And as the pendulum has swung from us being liberal caretakers of the world to a more conservative one, saber rattling does us little good other than to stir up more hatred among those poised to to do us harm with or without any provocation! The days of drawing lines in the sand in a world with nuclear weapons are over!
The current congressional hearings over Libya are a fine example of an issue that needs to be properly addressed but will not be. Instead it has turned into a finger pointing issue only raised to discredit the President. Did or did we not protect our people there and whose fault was it if we didn’t? The cold hard reality is that we outsource security. Today, there are no Marines out there with full barracks of soldiers protecting our diplomats to the extent they once were. We pay people to do that now. And the money for those types of things come from budgets that have been radically cut and shaped and reshaped by politicians from both sides of the aisle, who look at bottom lines and only consider security issues when bad things happen. It’s one thing to request funding for an airplane or a submarine, quite another to fund a security mission in a far off country most Americans have never heard of or has not been deemed a hot spot.
Thus as you sit there and prepare for debates in the future and listen to the endless TV posturing from both men, consider the choice is more than just about who looks good or is doing better in one poll or the other. Promising to spend billions on this new weapons system or that does little to protect those on the ground just shopping for their daily groceries.
We no longer carry the weight of the world’s safety on our shoulders not because we have gotten weaker, but because the world has gotten bigger and more dangerous. This election season has given us the voters good reason to glaze over the candidates, but when it comes to the issues, our need to be paying attention to their ability to address and properly respond to them has never been greater.