“The best time to listen to a politician is when he’s on a stump on a street corner in the rain late at night when he’s exhausted. Then he doesn’t lie.”
Theodore H White.
A particular challenge presents itself today. Putting together a post for this blog that falls within the restraints of the venue, and the parameters set for subject. In 1002 words it is necessary to expound on the meaning of the events occurring relevant to the choosing of the next leader of the free world. Being of a daunting nature, the topic is one of but a single question. Is the foremost authority for the principles of right and reason required to have intelligence or allure?
There is the true crux of the problem. Are we going to elect someone who can effectively lead the nation, or are we more concerned with oral eloquence and media savvy. It is a fact that the defining influence in any election in this day and age is the candidate’s ability to gather and spend money. The cost of the last election for president was astronomical compared to past candidates. Our current president raised $640,000,000 towards getting himself elected. Was that necessary, or simply another example of America’s propensity to define quality of effectiveness as being directly relational to the amount spent to achieve the desired level of competence?
Is it antediluvian to think that fidelity to our founding principles should be the values we should strive to achieve? Did we not fight a war with the largest, strongest nation in the world at the time to ensure our right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? The simple answer is no. We did not fight, at any time for these rights. They are not rights but simply a line in a document that’s primary purpose was to insult and denigrate the ruling King of England. Many confuse the Declaration of Independence with law when it is the Constitution that is law. Debate on this point might state that they are inalienable rights and, as such, are ours by default. This would be a legitimate claim depending on the values we wish to embrace. True values or those we find convenient by virtue of the fact that they buttress our personal yearnings.
The factual reason behind the creation of America was economics. We were complaining about paying taxes, much as we do today, and the answers we received from the powers that be, proved insufficient. The question today is one and the same as what we faced in 1776. Do we bow to a system that takes our money and leaves us little choice in the matter? Is it acceptable to engage in the folderol that is our elective process? Can we not see the defect in the democratic ideology of equality? If all men are created equal why must a candidate spend more than a half a billion dollars to be elected? Why do we only elect multi-millionaires to the presidency?
It is sickening to listen to these selfsame multi-millionaires expound on the principles put down by our founding fathers and know that they are really the only people in America who can actually and truthfully say that they have achieved Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. They have ensured that for themselves with the tax code, and policies that allow them to pay less taxes then the guy that mows their lawn or the woman that cleans their house.
This tirade on the state of America could not be complete without a frank discussion of the manner in which the candidates conduct their campaigns. Selective values and suspect morals are at the heart of the electoral process. We cannot even accept that the current president is a natural born citizen. There is still a large group of people in this country that believe that he is not a true American. Notwithstanding the legal documents that clearly state that he was born in a state of our country to a mother of acceptable heritage. By that it is implied that while his mother is acceptable for being white, his father is not because he is black and foreign lineage. That is the root of the opposition to his candidacy. This is a point that has been denied but little evidence has been presented to dispel the idea that he is insufficient due to his race. Where is the “all men are created equal” self-evident right in this thinking? Considering the reality of the fact that these words were written by a man who owned black slaves, there is little confidence in the paradigm.
This is not new information being presented but what should be an old broadcast item. We should have looked at this when we, as a country, decided to disallow slavery. To do anything else seems as an insult to those who died between 1861 and 1865 fighting to end this abomination. Oh, but that’s right, the Civil War wasn’t actually about slavery as much as it was about the economics of ending it.
Going back to the election, another troubling aspect is the rampant misdirection that goes on, even within party lines. It appears that arguing (it really cannot be called debating) about issues is supplanted by talks of money. Millions of dollars are spent on the candidates telling us how they are going to spend our money. If there were some way to move those lost funds in the media budgets of major candidates to tackle real issues such as poverty, joblessness, healthcare, and education we might get somewhere. The same six hundred and forty million dollars spent for the 2008 election by the winner could have paid 14,659 teachers for a year. Now that would be a pretty good bang for our metaphorical buck!
Are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness what our leaders are striving to give the American people? No…but perhaps it should be instead of misappropriating our tax dollars.