It is time for… Where do I begin?

American FlagI am fed up with politics. The U.S.A. is overdue for election reform and term limits. According to the Center for Public Integrity, a Pulitzer Prizing winning news site, in the 2016 presidential election, more than $1 BILLION was spent campaigning. It was a brutal election. Each year the diatribes against political opponents becomes more bitter, filled with half-truths and outright lies. Campaigning is less about what good can come of electing a particular candidate and more about the ways the opponent is flawed.

Fewer voters go to the polls. Electing a candidate is often based on who a voter doesn’t like rather than who can do the best job. Knowing who can do the best job is difficult to determine. Weeding through the rhetoric to find a kernel of truth takes an enormous amount of work and political savvy. And the money spent is mind boggling. One billion dollars? I can’t fathom that amount of money. Those dollars could have been better spent for education, economic development, health care, or workforce development.

Representation “by the people and for the people” has all but disappeared. Congress is largely made up of lawyers who have little or no contact with their constituency outside election campaigns. Everyday folks can’t afford to run and if they do and are elected, how will they  hold their own in a city where cost of housing is more than they make in a month? My cynical friends say it’s because everyone in Washington is on the take. Please let it not be so! I want to believe there are still elected officials who have integrity, and who have the best interest of the country as their priority. I don’t see a lot of that, but I remain hopeful.

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News or Hype?

VoteI know it has never really been this way, but in an ideal journalism world, news is reported not made by the media. In truth – especially during political seasons (which seem to be perpetual nowadays) – the media decides what we should think about candidates and how we will act in the voting booth, and it becomes so.

It is amazing that one candidate can call a “news conference” and have salivating national media show up. The man said nothing worth hearing, called fellow candidates liars, and threatened to sue one of them. He got a bunch of free advertising at the cost of the fifth estate’s integrity. Give me a break. Give our country a break.

This isn’t the most bitter political fracas ever mounted, but it ranks right up there with being the most farcical. It seems candidates no longer run on platforms; they run off at the mouth, not about issues, but about each other. Of course with the state the world is in, is it any wonder those aspiring to office make no claim they will actually take on what really matters? To name a few – global unrest, foreign policy, poverty in America, mental health issues, education reform, the economy, deterioration of law enforcement, and – dare I say it – political reform.

No matter who ends up in the White House, unless there is a major effort on the part of everyone elected to get along and get things done, our country will continue to slide backward.

No doubt those reading this will have sufficient reasoning to defend their candidate of choice. While I continue to believe everyone who runs for office does so in the interest of making America a better and safer place to live and raise children, I’m not hearing that on the campaign trail. Something happens as soon as the candidates get in front of a microphone or have the attention of a reporter. Their rhetoric becomes more about what the others can’t do and less about what the candidate will do.

And aren’t the analysts a hoot? What can they say that will make sense of it all? Why should we listen? Their interpretation of the political scene is no more valid than mine or yours. Talking heads blither and babble and yell at each other a lot, but they don’t make any more sense than the candidates.

The campaign has become a media circus and journalists are playing right into the hands of the most vocal candidates. We all lose because fewer meaningful questions are being asked amid the storm of words.

The wake up call will take place the first Tuesday in November. My prayer is that whoever is elected will be up to the task.

One thing is certain, this political season has more people showing up at the polls in primaries across the country. John and Jane Q. Public are more engaged than ever. Let that be a message to the candidates. Citizens want meaningful change that will indeed make America prosperous, healthy and safe.