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Politically Overdosed – A Rant

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I have a secret: I gave up the news about a year and a half ago. The “news” and “news media” have been long taking a drastic turn toward the bizarre, the negative, and the untrue. My life is already fairly bizarre, and if I look hard enough, I’m sure I can find some negativity and falsehoods in there, too.

The Internet and cable TV bring it all in front of our faces within seconds of events. We have failed, self-destructive pop stars, wayward celebrity personalities and drugged ex-Guess models and actors headlining alongside wars and acts of God. (Speaking of acts of God and other forms of weather, where else can one find a job where you can be wrong more than 50% of the time and still be employed?) There came a time when finally I had to decide that I don’t need a continuous stream of instantaneous crap filling up my head. So I took a sabbatical from “news,” gathering my information from weekend newspapers and books. If I needed a weather report, I just stuck my head out of the window.

My abandonment of the news media doesn’t mean I’m living under some rock in the thick of the backwoods. I’m watching my state with an eagle eye, mainly because I think we’re going to go down in flames. I know what’s going on in the world, including the upcoming presidential election. I’m an avowed independent, so I like looking at everyone with the same jaundiced and cynical eye.

Now that "we’ve" narrowed the presidential field down to just three candidates, I decided this weekend to check in with the news. After a day of listening to this pundit or that one over-analyzing each candidate, I’m ready to go back into my cave. I’ve been sufficiently politically overdosed for the rest of the campaign.

Let’s see… We have Barack’s people calling Hillary a monster. We have Hillary being just as evasive and secretive as she was back in the 1990s. We have John McCain flip-flopping and otherwise fading into the background.

Don’t get me wrong. I think there are some good characteristics in each one. That being said, I think Obama, Clinton and McCain would each make a decent president. In fact, I think all of them would make the same president. This is because no matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican or the Man on the Moon, my belief is that once you are in office, the power will ascend into your head and you’ll fall prey to those who pander to your every whim. In addition, being President doesn’t mean you’ll get everything you want, including all those things you promised the poor working stiffs when you were running for office. You may get some things, but you won’t get everything. If you could get it all, you'd be called something other than President. How about dictator?

This is the greatest downfall of the current political system. It is one where things are bought and sold. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Pork barrel attachments to bills in Congress are what’s killing us as a nation. Being a politician means playing a game of treachery. A politician has to be able to speak in carefully constructed circles, so that they take up news space and minutes on TV but don’t actually say anything of substance. You also have to be able to smile just before stabbing someone in the back. (That’s a figurative stabbing, not a literal one.)

Add to that, I don’t see much of a difference between the two Democrats, and John McCain is so liberally Republican, he’s actually close to them. Granted, Obama is a great orator, moving people to fainting and tears. He has generated a buzz around him that appeals to the young with compelling YouTube videos. However, to me, he and Clinton have the same amount of experience. (I’m sorry, but being a spouse of the President is not the same as being the President. Sure they were close, but we didn’t elect her.) Obama has an obvious charismatic value, not seen since Bobby Kennedy or Ronald Regan. Clinton is tenacious and bull-doggish. Some women like that about her. (I do not) McCain appeals to conservatives, especially those treading the middle ground. However, there’s only so much any of them can do once placed into office. Do you think for a minute that if terrorists attacked us again, a Democrat would not do what George Bush did?

Clinton and Obama each come with baggage, that’s apparent. It remains to be seen what dirt they will come up with on McCain. Perhaps the mudslinging will make a difference in the minds of some folks, but I can tell you, it only makes me angry. The news media is supposed to outline the facts, not sensationalize every little oddity of our public servants.

Which leads me to the next question that is burning a hole in my heart: why would any of these people even want the job? Why are they spending millions of dollars to get a job that will gross them around $200,000 a year? Why subject yourself to scrutiny of every deed, of every word you or your cohorts have ever spoken? Is it public service, or something else? Each candidate, I am sure, will unearth some unsavory fact about the other, and the news media will run with it like a lion with a lamb in its teeth. The media has become expert at taking things out of context. Why anyone in his or her right mind would want to be President is beyond me. Sure, whoever wins the prize will be 'Leader of the Free World,' but these days the US is not exactly a best-loved country. Whoever gets the job will be a walking target for kooks from the homeland and abroad. The potential President would have more problems than perks. You couldn’t hand me the job for half of what was spent on the campaigns.

As for the three candidates, the jury is still out. All I know is that I’m turning the news off once again. I’m not sure how I’m going to vote in November. Until then, I’m climbing into my cave with plenty of reading material, in hibernation and hoping for the best.

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About Joanne Huspek

I write. I read. I garden. I cook. I eat. And I love to talk about all of the above.
  • Clavos

    You ask why anyone seeks the office,

    “Is it public service, or something else?”

    The cynic in me (some would say I’m all cynic) maintains that, with very few exceptions, all our presidents have sought the “something else,” mostly power and a place in history (hubris).

  • STM

    I can understand why Americans might be politically overdosed … what with all this endless farting around on primaries.

    A near-12-month race for the White House; that’s a misnomer … it’s more like an ultra marathon where those left standing will limp or slow jog to the finish line. The winner falls through the tape, gasping. I got the Presidency? No, please, I need another 12 months to recover. Is there a bed in the Oval Office?

    Bring out the oxygen … for the voters.

    Come on America: Just have a proper election like normal people, where someone actually wins something.

  • Dan Miller

    The author states,

    “I think Obama, Clinton and McCain would each make a decent president. In fact, I think all of them would make the same president.”

    No matter who becomes president, he or she will have to deal with the House and the Senate and also with the Supreme Court. Not to mention the Federal Bureaucracy, which has both the power and the tendency to override the desires of all three branches at least for a few years. No matter what a candidate says, this should be kept firmly in mind and, for that reason, the author may be at least partially correct.

    Based on their thus far articulated policies, the author also be correct. However, there was once a popular song, “The cows may come and the cows may go, but the bull will go on forever.”

    It is, sometimes, appropriate to look beyond political promises and policies; they relate mainly to the past rather than to the future and, beyond that, to have little meaning.

    There is, however, a more important question: Which of the candidates is a person of acceptable morality? Not a person of untarnished morality; anyone like that would flee the presidency like the Devil (allegedly) flees holy water. No person of superior virtue would even consider running for President. Be that as it may, if you bought a used car from one of the candidates, which would you continue to trust a few months after the purchase?

    Similarities though the three may have, I don’t think they are fungible and I don’t think that in, say, 2010, they will appear to have been fungible.

    Dan Miller

  • Interesting that you should talk about climbing back into your ‘cave’.

    Sounds like you subscribe to Plato’s ideal that those best suited for leadership are those who desire it least.

  • Hi Joanne!

    *cough* Obama! *cough*