Editor’s Note: When I read the partisan nonsense on Facebook, for example, I begin to think illiteracy and computer illiteracy might be a good thing.
It’s only June, and I’m already sick of the 2012 presidential campaign. Of course, it’s just wishful thinking, but wouldn’t it be nice if it could all be over with this month?
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling enables corporations and their superPACs to anonymously buy as many candidates as they can afford, so we’re about to be plagued with more campaign ads than ever before. Companies that took government bailouts can now spend some of those taxpayer handouts biting the hands or greasing the palms of those who gave them this corporate welfare, putting an ironic twist on public financing of elections.
Wouldn’t it be nice if efforts under way (including a Constitutional amendment) to overturn the Citizens United decision decreased some of corporate America’s corruptive power. That this would reduce the control big money has over every area of government is merely wishful thinking; however, it might cut down on the number of robocalls, negative ads and outright lies we’ll be forced to listen to between now and November.
would anyone miss the mind-numbing, soul-sucking sound bites that make our
election cycles seem so long and so completely inane? Take the following
graphic, which has infested the Internet: “Candidate B [unflattering
photograph] believes in government; Candidate A [gazing sincerely at the sunset,
or perhaps the flag or his children] believes in the American people.”
This platitude is completely devoid of any useful information. Candidate B is running for the highest office in the land, so his faith in government shouldn’t come as a surprise. And both will spend hundreds of millions of dollars pursuing the opportunity to run the government, so I’m pretty sure Candidate A believes in it every bit as much, even if it’s politically useful to claim he doesn’t.
The second clause of that sentence is equally fatuous. What does A’s purported belief in the American people really mean? Is it like reverence for the family or motherhood? Or is it like belief in gravity — he has a sense of certitude the American people exist (one would hope so). Or does he believe something specific about us that makes him the better candidate?
Rather than expending the GNP of a small country on campaign ads and billboards, and hundreds of hours of cliché-ridden speeches, wouldn’t it be nice if office seekers just filled out questionnaires that succinctly described their proposed solutions for today’s problems? Voters could review a couple pages of relevant facts, rather than listening to nonsense about which candidate’s wife works in or outside the home, or how A mistreated his dog on vacation, or whether B ate a dog in his youth.
On talk radio, extremists chant the moronic mantra, “Candidate B hates America.” Do politicians really struggle so mightily to become president because they’re devoid of patriotism? Are we now so stupidly and blindly partisan that we want to accuse our presidents and potential presidents of aspiring to destroy their country?
The election cycle starts the day after inauguration day, so we’re spared campaigning only during the period between the first Tuesday in November and inauguration day. Wouldn’t it be nice if the elections themselves lasted only that long, as is the case in Britain. At least it would cut down on the amount of nonsense we’d be forced to hear.
In fact, I’d like to see the election held next week. Some might argue that there are still too many undecideds out there, but, if you’ve reached this point, and still haven’t made up your mind, you’re probably not smart or decisive enough to vote anyway. What vital information about the candidates haven’t you heard by now?
The parties are so totally polarized that the choice is clear-cut: pretty much anything Candidate B believes, A thinks is virtually treason, and vice versa. If B comes out against air pollution, A will support it. If A recommends bombing Syria, B will call it insanity. Will anyone be enlightened by hearing more about the war on women (or working moms), the war on religion (or Christmas), or the war on the poor or the rich (class warfare)?
And can we please skip the debates? Does it foster good government to vote against a debater who “misspoke” — the cynical and euphemistic term for a making a mistake? Will we cast a better vote by turning on whichever speaker committed a “gaffe” — cynically and more-accurately defined as a candidate accidentally telling the truth?
Will we have a better future once we’ve determined which man looks more “presidential”? Most Americans now agree Truman was a pretty good president, and he didn’t look the least bit presidential. And Lincoln was as ugly as sin.
Wouldn’t voters make more-informed decisions if they based them on the candidates’ strategies for dealing with China, rather than accusations from idiotic birthers that Candidate B was born in Kenya, or rumors that Candidate A’s grandfather moved to Mexico to practice polygamy. I’d also be thankful not to hear another word about Reverend Wright or Joseph Smith, neither of whom is running this time around.
finally, how about a Constitutional amendment that permanently bans Donald Trump
from ever running for anything or commenting on anyone else who’s running.
Now, that’s what I’d call election reform.
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