My youngest son, Zachary, who is a bit of a political junky, stated it accurately and succinctly. His message was waiting for me when I opened my email bright and early Tuesday morning: "Let the greatest day in this experiment we call democracy begin."
A perfect summarization of Election Day ... proud of the kid/young man. And as I pecked away at the keyboard in a sincere attempt to say something profound about this historic moment in American history, I envisioned the millions of voters going to the polls to exercise their basic right in our free society. I also focused on the thousands of men and women who gave their lives to preserve that freedom and tried not to think about the ingrates who won't even take the time to cast a ballot. Shame on them. Double shame.
It's been a long, winding road to reach Nov. 6, and we each have our own thoughts on the process that has played out over the past two years or so. Here are a few observations from an ink-stained wretch who has been through a few presidential rodeos.
Every man and woman from throughout this great land has had enough of this seemingly endless campaign. They're worn out by it, and who can blame them. And that's not just the battle for the White House. Local campaigns have also consumed our televisions, mailboxes, telephones and Facebook pages. When I bring up the fact that Election Day has finally arrived, everyone's response is the same: "Thank God it's going to be over. I'm sick of it. At this point, I don't even care who's elected, I just want it to end so we can all return to our normal lives." Testify.
I've never seen so much television advertising for state races. During the past two weeks or so, we've been inundated with clever, professionally produced ads proclaiming the many attributes of a candidate while pointing out what a low-down, insensitive bum his or her opponent is. This election will also be remembered for the countless glossy, full-color mailings that have appeared in our mail on a daily basis ... for the past several months. I have to admit I do read them ... or at least glance at them.
The billions of dollars that have been spent trying to win over voters is staggering ... perhaps disgusting would be a better term. Romney and Obama have shelled out so much money on advertising it's difficult to even comprehend. And the presidential race aside, a pile of greenbacks has also been dished out trying to get this or that person elected to the U.S. Congress. It's difficult for a person trying to make ends meet every week to comprehend or swallow. Talk about misplaced priorities.
Does any candidate speak the truth? After every speech, every debate, every community forum we're informed that Candidate A told 23 lies, while Candidate B only told 18 lies. It's reached the point where Americans don't know who to believe anymore so they just assume they're all lying. What a sad state of affairs. Is it because the candidates have their facts screwed up, or is it because they assume the average American voter is an idiot so they can say whatever they want and not worry about whether it's the truth or not? Probably the latter.
This could be totally off base, but I get a sense the citizens of the United States are totally fed up trying to survive during this economic debacle that has hindered all of us for way too many years now. If there was a candidate the voters knew beyond a doubt could turn things around, that person would win in a landslide. Put another way: The people of America are worn out by the constant gloom and doom that surrounds us and casts a pall over every state and household. They want the sun to come out. They want a brighter tomorrow, but are unsure about who can help them accomplish that goal.
Regardless of who is elected president, there's a bigger issue that needs to be addressed and I hope and pray it will be in the near future. The thing that is holding this country back more than any other issue is the debilitating fact Congress is broken and needs to be fixed ... now.
Back in the day, when we elected statesmen and women rather than professional politicians, things actually got accomplished.
Once they were elected, they went to Washington, D.C. with the unified goal of leading this nation with the "common good" in mind. It wasn't about making sure Democrats prevailed over Republicans, it was about moving this country forward in a way that benefitted everyone ... not just their political party.
Before America can make any real progress, the blame game must come to an end. It hasn't worked at all and only serves to keep us mired in the muck of stagnation and lost opportunities.
We used to send our elected officials to the capitol with a certain amount of confidence they would, and could, work with anyone - Republican or Democrat - to do what's best for all, not just their respective constituents.
Until that's fixed, until politicians return to the ideals of statesmanship, it doesn't really matter who resides at the big house on Pennsylvania Ave. That's my dream, and I hope we elect a leader who has the right tools and vision to restore a government that works.
Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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Great editorial, Rick! You've "hit the nail on the head" and I believe many, many people agree with you. It's unfortunate that we can't have confidence in the people we elect to office, but I guess that is the way it is these days. Doesn't make it right, however! Actually, I was running for the president also, with a campaign of meatballs, mashed potatoes & gravy as the permanent state meal. And when congress would argue, I was going to put quilt frames up in the East Room and everyone would gather there to tie quilts. Alas, I was not successful in my campaign! Maybe in four years!
Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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Once again I have to wholeheartedly agree with everything you say. I tried my best during this election process to becomed an informed voter. I followed the local and national races and cast my vote for whom I thought would represent me the best. The sad fact is that our political system needs help and needs it soon. I am glad the election is over and along with you hope that our system,which I firmly believe is the best in the world, will get the help it needs. Thanks for your comments and keep up the great work.