Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm just saying...

I know the topic of politics is a no-no in mixed company, and these ramblings are only my opinion, but I was truly annoyed the other night. 
I sat down in front of the television to watch, "Hells Kitchen" and was immediately bombarded with campaign ads.  Now, I'm not at all savvy about politics but I'm learning.  I don't even know what our elected officials' expected duties are.
I know elections are held for the people in a community, state, or country to pick the most popular person who thinks along the same lines and has pretty much the same kind of values as we do.  But, does anyone really know whether or not "Mr./Ms. Popularity" will do what is right?
Mud-slinging, name-calling, and past-dredging are all well-known, acceptable forms of campaigning.  Candidate A and their people endorse and pay for ads that show the dark side of Candidate B.  Sometimes the ads take quotes out of context, dig up family skeletons, and go as far back into Candidate B's past as necessary to portray them as a buffoon or even a villain.  Candidate B makes their own ad to set the record straight and then retaliate by digging up Candidate A's skeletons, etc.
Now, I wonder, why would I want to vote for either of them?
If a candidate and his people have dredged up enough controversy about the other candidate to fill four television commercials, not only does he need to explain what these controversies mean to me, my neighbors, and my countrymen, he also needs to tell me why he deserves the privilege to protect our rights and make changes.  Vague, empty promises, no matter how eloquently written and spoken, just don't cut it anymore.  We're all wide awake now and we're listening. 
Maybe if our elected officials received no free benefits and no more than the average salary of their constituents they would work harder at doing the right thing.  They would also have less money to fund mud-slinging campaign ads.
Who cares if a candidate has marital problems?  Who cares if they experimented with marijuana in college?  Who cares if their family is dysfunctional?  I figure they're more like the average citizen than the candidate who takes photos in front of the church where they worship, with his perfectly coiffed wife, his designer-clad 2.3 children, and his shaggy-haired mutt.  Taking a family photo doesn't prove he isn't an abusive husband or a negligent father posing with a neighbor's dog.
Digging up dirt about another candidate doesn't make them a better candidate.
What I'm trying to say is, being an elected official is not about who you share your bed with, what you read in college, or that matter, which college you attended, it's about doing the right thing for the people who count on you to get the job done correctly, in a timely manner, and in the best interests of the community, state, or country who elected you.
In the end, it all comes down to whether or not you use the power given to you by the people FOR the people. 
I'm just saying...