Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Opinion - Paging Diogenes...Where is Truth?

The election process degenerates with each passing election season. The 2010 California general election only proves my point.

Once upon a time, candidates came before us stating what they believed, what they wanted to accomplish, what they planned to do to get there. Now, I have no idea of what most candidates believe, except what they believe about the other candidates.

Lay Off the Layoffs
I’ve heard business leader-candidates chastised for layoffs in the past, as though he or she woke up one morning and decided to see how many lives could be ruined. To the best of my knowledge, layoffs are not a unilateral decision. The Board of Directors and department heads mandate or at the very least agree with the action. The CEO is more visible, but not solely responsible.

At no time have I heard anyone point out that layoffs and outsourcing come in the name of profits and profits benefit stockholders. Stockholders like me. I own a few shares in a mutual fund. And I’ve been the subject of a layoff. You might say I can see both sides of the issue. 

I’m not wealthy. I’m not even ‘employed’ anymore. I do a little independent contracting, but I’m not making anywhere near what I was making before the layoff. And those mutual funds form an important part of my retirement strategy, since my income is reduced and that wreaks havoc with my future SSN benefits (if there are any SSN benefits to get when I get there). 

Eliminate the Edits
File videos edited to make a candidate look foolish make me crazy. Multiple repetitions of a split-second clip should be illegal as a form of torture. We’ve got one commercial featuring a variety of citizens in Hawaiian shirts – the thing is poorly written and poorly filmed. Besides that, it’s plain annoying! 

I’ve heard all my life that you can use the Bible to prove anything if you take the verses out of context. Obviously the editors of political spots heard the same thing and adapted it to video clips and news stories. 

Stop, already! Give us the whole clip or leave us alone. With the presence of the Internet, any campaign has the ability to offer a complete clip at minimal cost. But how can I believe you when I can tell you’ve edited the tape to an unknown degree?

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are
When a candidate spends an entire ad bad mouthing the opposition, I learn nothing about his position. Candidate A may plan to encourage 25,000 new businesses by leasing unused government office throughout the state at bargain basement rates to start-up firms and offer tax cuts for documented volunteer hours, but if she spends her air time maligning Candidate B, I’ll never know.

Exposing weaknesses in the opposition is important, but no more so than displaying your own strengths. Come out of the shadows with what you stand for so I can make an active and informed decision.

The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, I am so thoroughly disgusted by the candidates and their trash campaigns that I almost want to pass on voting. I would guess that a lot of so-called “voter apathy” is really voter repulsion caused by the negative campaign styles so rampant today. 

I’ve made a personal decision to not allow my vote to be silenced. I will cast my vote in a thoughtful manner and pray that the next crop of political aspirants will be more civilized in their methods.

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