Nov. 13, 2012 — All’s fair in love and war, they say. After this year’s contentious and hard-fought primary and general elections, I have to wonder why whoever made up that saying didn’t add politics to the list when they put pen to paper and created it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to criticize any particular candidate with my comments here. In fact, I want to honestly thank and acknowledge all those who ran for office this year — those who were elected and those who were not — for their interest in and dedication to our country. Each of you offered your own personal perspective to the voters and gave us an opportunity to consider the issues and set the course for our future.
To me, that’s what our democracy is all about — a battle for the hearts and minds of the people in a free and open marketplace of ideas. I fear no idea and trust the wisdom of the people at election time to sort through them, to keep the viable ones and to discard the chaff.
Still, I’m disturbed when I see how we the people can be so easily manipulated and splintered into sobbing, warring and incoherent factions of red and blue, Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, etc., often by campaigns, statements and advertisements that bear little or no relationship to reality.
Political action committees can join these political fights on behalf of a candidate or an issue even though they are barred from having any contact with the candidate, and the candidate has absolutely no control over the committee’s message. Are you kidding me? This is good for us?
Some candidates provide messages as flawed as those from the political action committees. Apparently they will say or do anything in an effort to garner a few votes. These phony messages do not serve the people or the political process, but they’re all too common these days.
I’m even more disturbed when I see some of these bogus ideas take root among us and the half-truths or untruths acquire the weight of gospel in some circles and eventually become the common expression of the realm.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Political parties, candidates and those pushing ideologies probably will not regulate the integrity of their speech and messages themselves. Any attempt at regulating them from the outside would have a chilling effect on free speech. That means we the people must find a way to sort through political hogwash ourselves. We have to. We’re the only ones who can.
Today is probably as good a day as any to get started. We must demand our leaders be honest and honorable in word and deed and work to move our country forward despite our differences. We need leaders who will take care of the people’s business. We need leaders who recognize we can’t endure for long as two factions on opposite sides of the aisle throwing rocks at each other. We need leaders who understand we are one from many. We need leaders who can find a way to bring us together again so we can all enjoy the promise and prosperity of this great land. We need leaders who can lead us to the bounty promised in “America the Beautiful.”
We the people finally need to take responsibility. If we can’t get it done with the folks currently in office, we’ll just have to start all over again. The next election cycle will be here before we know it. Our government — at all levels — is only as good as we make it. It’s absolutely and completely up to us.
May God bless America and bless us all.
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