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Cline: What happened to politics?

By Mike Cline
For the Salisbury Post
Here we are — it’s election time again. It pains and saddens me to say that I have just about become disenchanted with the American election process. Now, I’m no Commie, and I have no suggestions for a better one, but for me, it isn’t what it used to be, and judging from voter turnouts of recent times, I’m not alone in feeling this way.
And voter turnout numbers do not include the millions of U.S. citizens who don’t 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 I’m 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 it’s politics, not our election process, that has me frustrated.
One thing I don’t want to hear from politicians running for office is that they are for more jobs, better schools and less taxes. Good grief, who isn’t?
It always reminds me of an episode of Mary Tyler Moore’s 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.
“Tonight’s editorial ready yet, Mur?”
“Almost, Ted,” Slaughter replies.
Baxter asks, “What’s the topic for tonight?”
“Mental health, Ted.”
Baxter walks out, but returns, “Where do we stand on mental health, Mur?”
“We’re for it, Ted.”
I am one who isn’t 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. That’s not asking too much, is it?
I refuse to listen to campaign commercials. They’re so insulting. Don’t 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 candidate’s name is different, or sometimes, for those “career” politicians, not even that.
And don’t have your computer call my phone with your special message. That’s a quick way to lose my vote.
And don’t get in my face as I walk into the polls to vote. Don’t you realize I already know for whom I’m casting my ballot? A campaign card or button at this point will have no effect on me.
The “newbies” to politics usually state something like they are in no one’s 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?
It’s 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 can’t remember. But that hasn’t 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 I’m always willing to look at the other party’s candidates and have crossed over quite a few times, except in the presidential race. I’ll never vote for the other party’s 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 “the lesser of two evils” 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 don’t pay attention to network political “analysts” or political polls, be it Mr. Gallup’s or Mr. Hocklefinger’s. Heck, I haven’t 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, I’ll 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 doesn’t matter which party affiliation you might have. I’ll bet some of you have thought about it, haven’t 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. It’s 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 Cline’s website, “Mike Cline’s Then Playing,” documents the movies played in Rowan County theaters from 1920 through 1979.

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