10/22/04 2:38 PM
Copyright 2004 David C. Loebig
Who Knows, Who Cares, Let’s Vote
It’s that time of year again when we’re all encouraged to pass judgment on people we don’t even know. That’s right, it’s election time.
Ideally, we would acquaint ourselves with the candidates by examining their credentials and listening to their telling answers to probing questions.
In reality, politicians never answer questions. We, the electorate, share the blame because we keep hiring those who can’t give a straight answer.
For instance, ask a politician if he likes golf and it may go something like this:
You: “Say, Mr. Candidate, do you like golf?”
Politician (making sincere eye contact): “Well....”
You: (Looking at him.)
Politician: (He pauses to let his eye contact impress you with his genuine connection to you, a commoner.)
You (wondering to yourself): “Why is he staring at me?”
Politician: “...you know...”
You (thinking to yourself): “Great, he’s going to answer the question.”
You (wondering to yourself): “He’s staring at me again. Do I have food on my forehead? Why doesn’t he answer the question?”
You (wondering to yourself): “He’s looking genuinely concerned. His eye contact is so authentic. Here comes his candid, sincere response because I’m just an average commoner, and he certainly can say whether he likes golfing or not.”
Politician: “Well, I don’t play very well. Ha, ha. No really, I’ll have my office get back to you on that. Here, have a four-color brochure with my buzz words on all the best selling issues of the day. It tells you, the general public, what you should be thinking about.”
This caricatured conversation sounds far fetched, but it’s based on an actual exchange I witnessed between an elected official and a citizen. The politician actually avoided answering the question, “Do you like golf?” Go figure.
This year the debates gave us some good insights about the candidates, but even then, some participants simply spew their pre-crafted responses.
Reporter: “What should we do about the budget?”
Candidate 1, Mr. Leerish: “Bipartisan uniform leasing legislation considered recently amazes people but utilizes no knowledge-driven reasons including viably enhanced lessons. And my opponent is a doo-doo head.”
Candidate 2, Ms. Praline: “Well, Mr. Reporter, it’s a lot like the budget you have at home. You can’t spend more than you make. So it’s a simple but difficult choice. We can cut services or raise taxes.”
We would never hire Ms. Praline. She’s realistic and frank. She used the “tax” word. She didn’t even resort to the grade school tactic of name calling. That just won’t do.
So, my fellow citizens, I urge you not to vote for candidates who don’t honestly answer questions or can’t play well with others--which leaves us with Mr. Rogers for President. I ask you to think carefully...dare I say lovingly...about the candidates and meticulously evaluate their experience and qualifications.
Oh, who am I kidding? That would take too much effort and maybe even a personal opinion. As you decide whom to vote against, just follow what the latest polls say: 50 percent of Americans think half of America is wrong.
Then be free to follow your own heart as you participate in our way cool, maxed-out-to-the-extreme American exercise in management by committee. Vote based on whatever feels right to you...the nicest smile, the best quips or the “perfect” party affiliation.
It can’t be that important. Besides, we’ll have another chance to vote against somebody else in a few years.
Dave Loebig writes and banters out of the Tampa, Fla. area. You can banter with him at RandomDigressions.com.