The next Presidential election is 132 days away but the ads have already begun; and I am already tired of them. How ‘bout you?
The political conventions are months away … the Republicans meet in August in Tampa and the Democrats meet in September in Charlotte. Why bother? We already know who the candidates will be. Chances are you’ve already decided which one you’re voting for.
One of my media jobs involves those Sunday morning public affairs radio shows you probably never listen to. Politics might seem a logical topic choice but I usually focus more on local day-to-day issues like education, health, volunteerism, bullying, poverty, quality of life, transportation and the arts. My five radio stations are in Washington DC and we have enough politics here as it is. But because I am a producer, host and interviewer, I receive a few hundred emails a week with guest pitches. I delete nearly all of them. The spokespeople they want me to chat with usually represent extreme points of view, some topic that isn’t really local or something that is more commercial than community.
One of today’s emails actually pissed me off. It began like this: Today’s Liberals and Democrats have taken their mockery of Conservatives and Republicans to the extreme ... there is nothing the Liberals and Democrats won’t do to tarnish the image of Conservatives and Republicans. What?!, I said out loud, talking back to my computer. While there might be some truth in that statement, this one is equally true: Today’s Conservatives and Republicans have taken their mockery of Liberals and Democrats to the extreme ... there is nothing the Conservatives and Republicans won’t do to tarnish the image of Liberals and Democrats.
Neither side seems to be dealing with issues, neither side is offering solutions to the messes we’re in, messes which were started by BOTH sides. All I hear is one side whining about the other but not offering realistic answers.
And I believe in this piece of reality: the President is a leader but no President can fix these problems alone … and no President is solely to blame for these problems. The current economic crisis began on Bush’s watch but it wasn’t really his fault. Obama hasn’t cleaned up the mess yet, but how could he or anyone else; he has done more than any opposing politician would ever give him credit for, even in the face of actual facts. Is Congress to blame? Yes and no. The Democrats had control early in Obama’s term and let arrogance get in the way of progress. Now the Republicans control the House and have blocked progress for the sake of blocking progress.
While everybody is talking about jobs as if the President, any President, can actually create jobs, the rest of us out here in the real world drive over crumbling bridges driving our kids to underfunded schools, then heading to jobs, if we have them, that barely pay enough to enable us to meet our overblown mortgage payments that came about because we bought during an overinflated housing boom … and that’s those of us who are lucky enough to “own” our homes. Fix education, fix infrastructure, fix education, stop starting wars, start prioritizing things we have to do now to protect our future. Bring our troops home to rebuild OUR country.
No matter which candidate wins, we already know that on January 20th a rich, well-educated male baby boomer will take the Oath of Office. Most Presidents in my lifetime could be described that way and most were career politicians, even the one who was a peanut farmer at some point in his life. At least his perspective was a little more like a ‘normal American’ and he was probably the most honest person to hold that office in the past 100-plus years.
The ‘average’ American is neither conservative nor liberal on every issue. Our opinions relate to our experiences, beliefs and expectations of what government can or cannot do. When will there be an electable candidate for the highest office in the land who is average and normal?
Well, there’s another ‘slam the other guy’ add on my TV. Where’s my remote?