Thank goodness for Hurricane Sandy! It’s provided some respite from the ongoing presidential campaigns. That a major tropical storm system could strike New England just before Halloween is news enough – without the inevitable destruction and loss of life. We have eight more days until election day here in the U.S., and Sandy could provide a twisted sort of the proverbial “October surprise.”
If it’s bad enough, both President Obama and Mitt Romney may not be anywhere near Washington, D.C. Obama could hunker down at his Chicago abode, while Romney could seek refuge in one of his many estates. Their responses to the disaster will prove what they really think of the American people. Obama most likely won’t stay in Chicago; he’ll want to head back to Washington to coordinate recovery efforts. I suspect Romney will take the traditional conservative Republican stance and just let New Englanders fend for themselves. After all, that’s been the mantra of his campaign; if you don’t have enough money in your bank account or drive a couple of Cadillacs, then you’re not worth saving.
Aside from November 7 being the birthday of one of my closest friends and former colleagues, it’ll be the first day after the elections and thus, the end of this campaign season. I got tired of this crap – oh – I’ll say around July 1. Political campaigns here in the U.S. are never-ending – like Thanksgiving turkey, deep space and the Harry Potter series. They just go on and on and on.
I suppose it’s inevitable in a truly democratic society. But, as a frequent, dedicated, tax-paying voter who’s experiencing firsthand the worst this dismal economy has to offer, I have some advice for all would-be candidates.
- Focus on what good you’ve done for your respective communities. In other words, run on your record, for God’s sakes! If you don’t have much of a record, then don’t run for public office! That’s like a high school graduate applying for an engineering position at NASA. You don’t have to walk on water, or even build homes for the impoverished (although the latter would be more practical and appealing), but show us something positive. What have you done for us?
- Stop, or at least limit, the negative ads. If you have to point out the adverse traits of your opponent instead of highlighting your positive attributes, then you don’t have much of a campaign. Karl Rove had to do that with George W. Bush. Bush was such a lame-ass that the only way the ignorant masses could be convinced to vote for him (other than because of their ignorance) was for the opposition to be demonized. The 2004 presidential campaign is a perfect example. There was nothing good about Bush’s tenure in office at that point. He couldn’t prove that he’d completed his stint in the Texas National Guard, and no one had found the elusive “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. So the Rove goblins questioned John Kerry’s military record and made him out to be indecisive; e.g. a “flip-flopper.” It didn’t help that Kerry tried to take the high road, which was like Albert Einstein trying to explain quantum physics to Ron Jeremy. I wasn’t too crazy about Kerry anyway, but look at the mess we ended up with as Bush left office.
- Stop saying, ‘I promise to do .’ Instead, say something like, ‘I promise to cooperate with , or to do my best to accomplish .’ Every political candidate – especially those for the presidency – promises massive changes without realizing this not a dictatorship, or even an oligarchy. There are 3 branches of government, and they have to work with one another. Think We Are the World, or better yet, I Want to Teach the World to Sing. I suppose that’s a bit much to ask from grown people with Mount Everest-size egos. Merely promising to do your best goes a long way. Most people are smart enough to understand that an elected official – even the President of the United States – can’t do everything alone. I mean, William H. Taft’s wife, Helen, once answered the doorbell to the White House, and Harry Truman used to wash his own socks. Either way people won’t be too disappointed when an elected official can’t get X, Y and Z done – which is one reason why the American people should blame the Republicans in Congress for keeping things screwed up. They won’t work with Obama. But, that’s a different essay.
People are always glad to see election season come to an end. Yes, the candidates are tired, but so are we. Our elected officials don’t seem to get it sometimes. I’m still unemployed and have massive student debt to pay off. I don’t care about gay marriage; don’t want to hear your definition of when life begins; don’t want too much of our tax dollars go to treat diseases in foreign countries where people should have figured out by now that having sex with a virgin doesn’t cure AIDS. I want to see some real action in Washington – and not on the dance floor. I want to see our elected officials handing out water bottles after Sandy hits.