People occasionally ask what political party I’m affiliated with. More recently, they ask if I’m leaning toward Obama or Romney.
If you’ve read these columns with any regularity for any length of time, the answer is probably clear. Nevertheless, while wading through this fall’s campaign, I try to keep a relatively open mind, listen closely to each candidate and try to decipher their positions of various issues.
And yet, despite careful analysis, I find the candidates talk in such broad generalities they really don’t say much of anything. Successful politicians of both parties have the uncanny ability to talk nonstop for 20 minutes and not relate a single, specific thing of any consequence – and still, strange as it may seem, you’re left with the impression they’ve said something worthwhile.
They issue a number of “strongly worded policy positions.” They’re very good at that. And each “strongly worded policy statement” produces a storm of responses from the opponents who find the strong worded policy “untenable” and “unacceptable.” Each candidate promises to “turn the economy around” and “promote new economic opportunities and growth” or establish a new “policy-making procedure” or “open hearings” so they can “open a dialogue” when they’re under “strong pressure” or “diplomatic pressure” or “Congressional pressure” and God only knows what kinda pressure they’re under.
The only thing certain is their desire to “give the country back to the people” and their desire, of course, to get elected, so they can issue another “strongly worded policy position” and enjoy another two-martini lunch.
They aren’t especially interested in global warming and the rising sea levels – but, of course, if you’re an evangelical Christian you wouldn’t be concerned because the seas have risen before and, if it happens again, we’ll simply build another arc. Nor are they particularly concerned with the world’s burgeoning population, currently in excess of 7 billion and threatening to double in the next 20 years. However, some of them are against any form of birth control.
Instead of working to reform our shameful criminal justice system, politicians are trying to figure out if a rape was “forcible” or “legitimate.” (Isn’t all rape, by definition, forcible and, if so, what the hell is legitimate rape?) They argue about evolution and whether it should be taught in public schools – or, for that matter, whether we should even have public schools. And let’s not forget the debate surrounding a private citizens “right” to bear AK-47 assault rifles and 105mm howitzers, which we’ll probably need to defend ourselves against our angry children when they discover 90 percent of their lifetime earnings will go to pay off the national debt we left them.
And you might still wonder who I’m voting for. Hell, the answer should be obvious. I’m voting for the candidate with the whitest teeth and the most elaborate “strongly worded policy position.”