Marolt: What I like about politics and the people who advertise for them
I kind of enjoy the bickering. The posturing is amusing. Backtracking makes me so uncomfortable that I can’t stop watching. Mudslinging is fun in a childish way. I like political ads at least as much as the regular ones. Unscrambling the things said by people who are in the fray is a no-sweat mental exercise. So and so is really against education? Such and such wants to pardon all crack-addicted mass murderers? Whatchamacallit hates the environment? Really?
The only part I dislike about the season of politics is the phone calls. They must work, but not on me. I can’t imagine the people who engage solicitors in conversation. There’s no excuse in the modern age of caller ID and an “ignore” button on the phone.
Don’t take any of this to mean that I like politics, though. I don’t. I pay enough attention to the candidates so that I can get an impression about whether they seem halfway honest and kind. If I get the sense there is a soul hiding somewhere behind a power tie, I really don’t care what they say their stance is at the moment; they have my vote.
As for issues, I look into them enough to see if I can picture them making a meaningful difference fairly soon at not much cost. If they sound expensive or above my pay grade for figuring out, I don’t trust the “experts” to lay out the benefits or consequences for me. It’s easier to just say “no.” If an issue really is a good idea and gets defeated, it will come around again with the B.S. rinsed off.
What really turns me off about politics, though, is that I’ve figured out you can’t win by taking a side. I mean, you can literally be on the winning side, but you, yourself, can’t win. To heck with “the team” in this instance; I’m talking about inner peace.
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The way I see it boiling down is that if you back the side that wins, you end up spending the next four years defending it against the losing side. It’s enough stress and wasted energy to make you think you’d have been lucky to back the loser, but that’s just wishful thinking. Losers of election issues and/or candidates end up spending the ensuing four years in attack mode. There can’t be a better way to bring on early-onset premature aging or, at the very least, acid reflux.
I’ll be honest with you. I believe voting for presidents, governors, senators, and national or state representatives is a waste of time. No matter what any not-for-profit, get-out-and-vote organization says, my vote doesn’t mean squat among the masses, hanging chads in Florida be forever preserved in dry storage.
Certain uptight patriots will point out that, if everyone in this country thought like I do in this regard, it could lead to the end of democracy. What those people fail to recognize is that I’m not necessarily opposed to wasting time, especially in November, and thus my indifferent attitude doesn’t mean I don’t vote. It just means I don’t get too worked up over the outcomes.
Voting is my way of saluting those who fought for our freedom. They’re the ones who changed the world, not me in the voting booth referring to my cheat sheet. It’s not like going to church, where I can sit quietly and talk to God. In the voting booth I am utterly alone, and nobody is the wiser as to my whereabouts afterward save for the “I voted” sticker on my jacket.
If it’s not awkward, I make it a point to say thanks to people in uniform whom I pass in an airport. More useful than voting in effecting change, I think, is talking with friends, neighbors and family members over beers about things that are really important to us.
I am not a great believer in the theory that the majority is always right, that great decisions are made by consensus or even that winning by a landslide proves fitness for office. What I do believe is that when mistakes are made, most people will recognize it and that our country has been set up well to correct them as quickly as 330 million people can possibly do it.
Mostly, I believe “In God we trust.” Our founding fathers did an inarguably great job in setting this country up, but even they realized that freedom means every now and then we’ll end up putting a boob in the White House. Sometimes we need a little outside help.
Roger Marolt thinks we’re doing OK so far in this country. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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