Thursday, October 4, 2012

Debate This

To my son Tommy,

Last night, coming from our room, you may have heard cursing and yelling and things being thrown.  No, your parents weren't having a fight.  That was just your mom watching the first presidential debate.  I am of course exagerating (at least a little) about your mother's response.  She was quite tame after she realized I had stopped watching and was actually trying to get some sleep.  Your mother is really into this election though she mostly has her mind made up.  Last night however I was much less interested than your mom.  I was not trying to shirk my duties as a responsible voting citizen, I just didn't have the energy to decode, decipher, or evaluate.  Plus I figure it will be something that is replayed over and over and evaluated and decoded from all points of view (biased and not) over and over.

Debates are filled with empty promises and half truths and full out lies anyhow.  The other day a news article on public radio explained how over half the time the politicians "pivot" on a question.  To "pivot" is to take a question and turn ninety degrees or there about and give a totally unrelated answer that the candidate wanted to give.  So dealing with these kind of dodges all night was not my idea of fun.  Then there is the "facts" which need to be checked and verified and taken with large grains of salt.  I have been through enough elections in my life to know these guys (as are most politicians) are just BS artists.  I heard that the majority of the debate could be summarized by the typical classic argument that include such phrases as:  No I Didn't...Yes You Did...Is Not...Is Too..I am rubber your glue...Its 5 Trillion...No Its Not Times Infinity.

Perhaps if they followed my advice, perhaps if they made promises as if they were a promise to a three year old toddler, perhaps if there were some consequences or accountability for their broken promises, maybe then I would be less disillusioned.  I can still hear the words of the elder Bush saying "No New Taxes" ringing in my ears, and that was a quarter of a century ago.  It is sad that I view the presidential race with such skepticism but past experience has told me the choice for president is always a choice of the lesser of two evils.

Debates in themselves are just not specific.  There is not enough details given and there isn't that kitchen table moment where you lay out all the bills and all the problems and say...this month we pay this month we pay an extra ten dollars to that one.  Both candidates just tell you what you want to hear or what they think you want to hear.  They both tout catch phrases like "grow the middle class" and "reduce the defecit" and "education education education" and other things that everyone "agrees" with, but just saying you want to do this, doesn't mean crap.  At one time these two candidates, in the not so distant past before Romney won his party's nomination, were considered interchangeable and spawned such pop culture terms as Obamney.  You would be hard pressed to see much difference between them in their agreed objectives, so you have to just infer their means to get to these objectives.  You have to guess at how they will do their job because they aren't going to really tell you.  They can't because then you won't vote for them.  People vote for people that give them ice cream and say it will cure all that ails them not ones that tell them to eat their vegetables, do pushups, and stay away from sweets that can threaten their lives.

That is why I am still not sure if the choice for president matters as much as everyone thinks it does.  Sooner or later we have to stop looking for someone from above to help us and learn to help ourselves.  We have to change as a society our goals and priorities.  We have to start doing more and helping each other not only survive but thrive.  We got to look out for the guy next door and do our fair share for everyone.  We have to no longer give into our greed and stop voting for the guy who is going to give us personally the most.  We have to stop putting in all this time dodging taxes and start putting in time bettering the world.  I can do more in my daily life to effect my future for the better than any elected official can in his whole career.  This change I am looking for starts with how I raise you and how I live my life.

That is not to say that I won't do my homework.   I will still study and analyze and I will definitely vote.  Not a single candidate has it right, or at least not on everything, so I have to really search my soul and see where my priorities lie.  I will end up having to pick a guy that I agree with on less than fifty percent of all the issues no matter who I choose.  But I will do my best because my choice not only effects my future and your mom's future, but now it effects your future as well.  Not to trivialize the choice but I may even have to break out the expert technique of eenie meenie minie moe.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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