This year, I've attempted to provide some thoughtful political commentary, and poke a little fun at the political process along the way. Some of you have gotten the joke, some of you haven't - but either way, I appreciate those of you who've shared your thoughts here, via email, or phone calls. Let's keep the dialogue going ...
Elections are supposed to be about ideas. But 2006 has, for the most part, been the exception.
Voters are asked to choose between one party which protects pedophiles and corrupt politicians, while spending money like a drunken sailor, and another party whose message is simply “we’re not them”.
When you think about it, that’s not much of a choice.
You can argue these things aren’t true, but don’t try telling me that. Tell the voters around the country who are poised to throw the GOP out of power, and give control of Congress to a party which has failed to offer any sort of alternative vision or set of policies. In politics, perceptions, true or false, are often reality. People see scandals, perceive problems, and act accordingly. Who can blame them?
This year has seen an unprecedented barrage of negative campaigning in which the truth, respect for the voters, and ultimately, faith in our democratic system have been the ultimate victims.
We’ve failed to put ideas first, turned political races into personal sludgefests, and allowed Machiavellian political leaders and campaign operatives to justify the unjustifiable, distort the facts, and “do whatever it takes to win”. Along the way, we forgot that people should be able to vote FOR something, instead of voting AGAINST something. Far too often, we don't try to make things better - we simply look to see how we can manipulate facts and situations to our advantage, and don't give a damn what the long-term consequences are.
Who gets the blame? For those of us in the political system, we need only look in the mirror - Republicans and Democrats alike.
Our Republic, like none other in the course of human history, was built upon the hopes, dreams, and ideals of our Founding Fathers. Our political process should aspire to the same standards. No nation can hope to exist in contradiction with its founding principles for long.
We, Republicans and Democrats alike, can do better. Our communities, our state, and our nation deserves the best we, as Americans, can do.