Well, the first Obama/Romney debate is over, and here are my thoughts… I don’t have any. The debate has not had any effect on my thinking at all, because I have already made my choices, state and federal, based on the records and credentials of the candidates. I worry about people who would allow a few speed speeches to sway them at this late date. Those who haven’t already made up their minds, or are being swayed at the last moment, obviously haven’t taken any time to research one of the most important decisions a citizen could make. I watched the debate. It was a lot more interesting than most of what I see on the tube these days.
A year or so ago a friend of mine made a political statement that came at me out of left field. What he said was totally inaccurate, and it was easy to point him at the records which showed he had been terribly misinformed. He said to me in reply that he just didn’t have the time to research any of the candidates for office. I wrote back to him, chastising him for failing at his most sacred obligation of citizenship. If you’re too busy to look at the candidates for an office that is going to affect your life, then I tend to assume you’re probably the kind of person who drives drunk, leaves children unattended for days, and locks your pet in a closed up car in the middle of the summer. Okay, that was kind of nasty, but the truth is that you’re being awfully cavalier about not just your life and well being, but that of your neighbors and fellow citizens.
Yeah, I’m pretty judgemental about this, I admit it. But this is a subject in which there just isn’t a lot of slack. Everyone needs to participate and take their vote seriously, and refuse to be one of the people who think that their vote doesn’t matter. A lot of people have worked and died so that we can participate in our government, starting from the Founders and spanning the decades to this very moment. I know I want to live in a country that is directed by the wishes of the majority, not a group, a party, an organization or individual. I don’t pay any attention to commercials, TV and radio shows, and specialized Internet destinations –because they simply aren’t accurate. Many are outright lies. If you get your information on candidates from the media, then you’re making a huge and dangerous mistake. I don’t understand why anyone cares what Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews has to say, I think everyone should care about what the candidates have done, what their record is, and how they have voted on the issues they’ve been presented. If you don’t care the same way, then chances are you’re getting fleeced. You probably believe in at least some of the many falsehoods that surround the various candidates. Anymore, I don’t even believe in what the candidates themselves have to say, instead finding it pretty obvious that during campaign season they’re presenting themselves in the best light they can. For all of any of the candidate’s campaign promises over the decades of my life, I have seen precious few of them actually honored. I let their records do the talking, and pay attention to the way they operate. With our Congress having single digit approval ratings, the last four years have spoken volumes about how ineffectual both sides of the aisle have been. Neither the Congress or the Senate members are able to hold their heads very high, having made partisan stonewalling more important than the welfare of the country. We all know how badly they’ve performed, and it wasn’t any single person that caused our government to be the object of such national contempt and disdain, it was, sadly, the majority of people we allowed to govern us. We all screwed up royally, and we should be giving serious thought to trying to set things back on track. And no, I’m not favoring or blaming either party –they both stunk.
I think I spent a total of about five or six hours over the last year reading up on the people running for offices that affected me. Doing actual research, I mean. That includes municipal, county, state and federal governments. That’s not a lot of time, considering it was a few minutes here and a few there. That’s really all it took. Given that I went straight to the horse’s mouth, it also showed me in technicolor which people were serving up bovine effluence and which were serving sirloin. The fallacies we are inundated with only serve to reinforce that the media invariably serves a cause –much more than they might serve the nation or simply serve the truth. As they always say in murder mysteries, follow the money. In the case of the media, do the same. You’re always going to find that there’s an agenda controlling the purse strings, and therefore the content of that media outlet. You really can’t trust information doled out to you without your soliciting it. Even then, you have to be sure of where you’ve gone to look. Fortunately, no one has yet figured out how to corrupt things like the senatorial or congressional records, and likewise local government records. So there are easily reachable sources for information that are accurate. But the very easiest sources, the ones that seek you out on TV, radio, and print, are actually the least most trustworthy. Like they say, if you believe in any of these broadcast talking heads, I have a bridge to sell you.
I’m pretty sure that some of you may be feeling insulted and demeaned by what I’ve said today. I’m sorry, I don’t set out to make anyone uncomfortable. My job, as I see it is to “tell it like it is” for someone who suffers a life ending cancer. But my life isn’t all about cancer; my life is defined by much more than Multiple Myeloma. The people who will be making decisions about my VA benefits, my medical programs, and other aspects of my life are very much an important aspect of my existence and so I am writing about this stuff.
Finishing up, I have made my choices when it comes to politics, and so I’m not all atwitter about who said what or how well this or that candidate came off in the latest debate. This isn’t a beauty contest or American Idol. The contestants in this particular set of races and how they will affect us and our future is way too important to treat it like an episode of Project Runway or Chopped. No matter which side of the fence you sit politically, I urge you to spend a little time getting your own information from certified sources. Then get out and vote. It’s your duty, and failing to perform it disservices us all and spits in the faces of those who gave their all for our democracy.