Cline: What happened to politics?
By Mike Cline
For the Salisbury Post
Here we are ó itís election time again. It pains and saddens me to say that I have just about become disenchanted with the American election process. Now, Iím no Commie, and I have no suggestions for a better one, but for me, it isnít what it used to be, and judging from voter turnouts of recent times, Iím not alone in feeling this way.
And voter turnout numbers do not include the millions of U.S. citizens who donít even care enough to register to vote. And that is a real shame. The right to vote and choose our leaders, as imperfect as it may be, is something we all should cherish. I suppose many do not feel that way. As far as Iím concerned, those who do not vote have no right to complain about what those elected are doing.
On second thought, maybe I should clarify what I wrote earlier and state that itís politics, not our election process, that has me frustrated.
One thing I donít want to hear from politicians running for office is that they are for more jobs, better schools and less taxes. Good grief, who isnít?
It always reminds me of an episode of Mary Tyler Mooreís TV sitcom of the 1970s.
News writer Murray Slaughter is banging away at his typewriter (remember those?), when not-so-bright news anchor Ted Baxter pops into the newsroom.
ďTonightís editorial ready yet, Mur?Ē
ďAlmost, Ted,Ē Slaughter replies.
Baxter asks, ďWhatís the topic for tonight?Ē
ďMental health, Ted.Ē
Baxter walks out, but returns, ďWhere do we stand on mental health, Mur?Ē
ďWeíre for it, Ted.Ē
I am one who isnít satisfied just to know a candidate stands for this and that, but rather, I want to know what specific ideas they have to achieve more jobs, better schools and less taxes. Thatís not asking too much, is it?
I refuse to listen to campaign commercials. Theyíre so insulting. Donít the candidates realize that the commercials currently running sound exactly the same as those that were used two, four and 20 years ago? Only the candidateís name is different, or sometimes, for those ďcareerĒ politicians, not even that.
And donít have your computer call my phone with your special message. Thatís a quick way to lose my vote.
And donít get in my face as I walk into the polls to vote. Donít you realize I already know for whom Iím casting my ballot? A campaign card or button at this point will have no effect on me.
The ďnewbiesĒ to politics usually state something like they are in no oneís pocket and owe no one in Raleigh, Washington, wherever, anything. But, if elected, can they honestly look voters in the face and say the same thing at re-election time?
Itís nigh onto 40 years since I have been a U.S. voter, and there were maybe a few times early on that I voted a straight ticket. I really canít remember. But that hasnít been the case for a long, long time. I have always leaned toward one political party more than the other, mostly for philosophical reasons. But Iím always willing to look at the other partyís candidates and have crossed over quite a few times, except in the presidential race. Iíll never vote for the other partyís candidate for president. Just a promise I made myself years ago.
Call me fickle.
How many times have you, when voting, cast your ballot more against one candidate than for the other candidate? Has the expression ďthe lesser of two evilsĒ ever popped into your mind when you get ready to draw the circle on your sheet of paper? I can be included in that group.
I donít pay attention to network political ďanalystsĒ or political polls, be it Mr. Gallupís or Mr. Hocklefingerís. Heck, I havenít trusted a TV anchorman since Cronkite retired.
And these endless radio political talk shows. Yipe! The only way I would spend my days listening to those things would be if a judge ordered me to do so as part of community service for the commitment of a felony. If I want to become a victim of political brain washing, Iíll have to go another route.
And with the November election drawing closer, and the presidential candidates already selected (not officially, but we know who they are), has it entered your mind as it has mine, that out of more than 311 million U.S. citizens living today, these are the best two people in the entire country to lead our nation?
Be honest. It doesnít matter which party affiliation you might have. Iíll bet some of you have thought about it, havenít you?
Frankly, I have been underwhelmed by all the presidential candidates for a number of past elections. Sadly, this year, I feel the same way.
Such are the reasons of my disenchantment.
But I have the right to complain. Itís still the USA., and I still exercise my gift of voting. In fact, I voted the first morning of early voting at the library.
I was the only person there casting my ballot at the time.
Mike Clineís website, ďMike Clineís Then Playing,Ē documents the movies played in Rowan County theaters from 1920 through 1979.