Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Political Junkie Vents

Okay, let’s get one thing out in the open right away.  I am a bit of a political junkie.  But there are occasions during campaign seasons when I think perhaps we were wrong in adopting this democracy thing.

I guess I come to the political games genetically.  My grandfather was a two-term state representative, and we had many conversations about the fate of the nation when I visited him.  Of course, one conversation centered on my registering as a Democrat.   He was a staunch Baptist and about as Republican as one can get, even cringing at the thought of the late President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat and worse yet, a Catholic, becoming president.  But I don’t think he harbored ill feelings toward me because I happened to favor Kennedy.

Mother, too, was acutely aware of everything politic to the day she died, just shy of her 98th birthday.  Strangely, even though her legislator father indoctrinated her into the Republican way, she did hold a certain fondness for the late great liberal lion of the U.S. Senate, Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.  Go figure.

I guess my interest in politics became further heightened when I made a shift in my journalism career from sports editor to political reporter.  It wasn’t much of a transition, really.  As my mentor at the time, Rod Paul of the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, explained, the only difference between pols and athletes was the fact that politicians don’t wear numbers or their name on the back of their shirts.  He was right about that.  Yes, politics is a game, but one that can have more dire consequences than any contest played on a basketball court, ice rink, baseball diamond, football or soccer field.

So what’s the point of all of this prattle?  I was listening to some campaign commercials that have been airing of late and I realized that so-called attack ads are about 95 percent lies, or at best twisted truths, and the remaining five percent pointless.  Unfortunately, some potential voters will be swayed one way or another by them, and that strikes me as a shame.  It is evident that we’re going to run through a presidential preference primary season hearing nothing of substance and an increasing amount of vitriol.  And the run-up to the general election in November 2012 promises to be more of the same.

Just once I would love to hear candidates say what they will do if elected to whatever office they seek, and forget about whomever they are running against.  There is no point in demonizing an opponent or foes without explaining how you would do things differently if given the chance.  And please, can we do away with the phrase “sick and tired”?  If a candidate is indeed sick and/or tired, he or she doesn’t warrant my vote.  I don’t need someone representing me who might sleep during their time in office, missing a crucial debate and vote, or who is too ill to be involved at all.

Okay, not that I’ve flushed those thoughts from the area of my mind that’s labeled “gives-a-damn”, let the games go on.  Maybe there’ll be a good halftime show.

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