Weeks away from what many pundits have touted as “the most important election in a generation,” I have become frustrated. Very frustrated.
Listening to all of the babble, reading all of the coverage and opening the mail to find campaign cash solicitations from one end of the political spectrum to the other has left me with nothing but questions.
Questions like: What is one to believe? Should one believe anything? How can voters make informed decisions about issues with savvy spinning and petty posturing getting in the way?
Let’s consider a few of the more pressing situations staring at us these days:
• Either Jackson needs a convention center and getting it will propel us toward financial nirvana or it’s unnecessary, ill advised and likely to bankrupt the city.
• Either Senator Kerry was (a) for invading Iraq and has a secret plan to end the war or (b) he opposes the invasion and has no plan at all. One day (a), one day (b).
• Either the country has created jobs during his term, as the President says, or lost jobs, as Senator Kerry says. It can’t be both ways.
• Senator Kerry says he can lower our health insurance cost and provide us 55+ folks early access to Medicare without raising taxes on the middle class. Say what? Where’s the money going to come from? Where do I sign up?
• Both sides are claiming victory in the debates. The President won, no the President lost. Vice President Cheney slaughtered the “Breck Boy.” No — Senator Edwards showed his spunk and controlled the debate even though he may not actually know where the Senate meets. But that’s OK because President Bush probably doesn’t know where the Alabama National Guard met either.
Losing the truth along the way
Spin, spin, spin. Nobody cares about the truth. Just how it will play in 10-second sound bites. How can we spin the facts to support our candidate? That’s the ticket to success.
I’m really tired of all the deception and nonsense. I want the candidates to treat us like mature adults, capable of dealing with difficult choices if we know the facts. I wish the politicians would, just for once, be straight with us.
Here are some thoughts on the issues that you will not hear during the campaign:
• Taxes. Look folks, running the country and providing all these services costs a lot of money and there’s nowhere to get the money but from you, the taxpayers. So, forget tax cuts, pay your fair share and shut up about it.
• Iraq. It’s the oil, stupid! Don’t you realize that America needs control of Iraqi oil or our standard of living could be cut? That’s what we mean by “national interest.” Sudan? We have no national interest in Sudan because they don’t have any oil.
• Convention center. Mayor Johnson needs a convention center to prove that, under his leadership, Jackson has become an up and coming metropolitan center and not a crime-plagued, deteriorating central city. Quit worrying about whether it makes financial sense, just give the mayor his convention center, sit down and shut up. This is an ego thing and has nothing to do with money.
• Deficit. Everybody knows that paying hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars to fight a war in Iraq and, simultaneously, cutting taxes is ludicrous, however the conservative, right wing of the country eat it up and I need their support to get re-elected. We’ll worry about the deficits after the election is over.
Despite it all, your vote does matter
So, there you have it. Some positions on current issues that will never be spoken anywhere.
In the meantime, I plan to watch “Law and Order” re-runs and avoid the political spin as much as I can.
Please don’t confuse my political cynicism with my commitment to vote. I have voted in every election, state and national, since I was eligible to vote and will continue to do so as long as I can waddle, or be rolled, up to the voting booth. I wish that every American would make a personal commitment to vote and “just do it.”
Thought for the Moment — Because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Those who are afraid to make a mistake will never make a significant achievement. — America’s Cup winner Ted Hood
Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.