#232 – Dick Bernard: Politics on a Stick

Yesterday was the opening of the Minnesota State Fair, and like much of Minnesota, my State Fair gene kicks in, and I’ll make my way there, zombie-like, making my usual rounds, having my usual “health foods”, and come home again. It’s an annual ritual. I can’t help myself….
Every two years, coincident with the State Fair, comes the intensity of partisan politics and the endless parade of political advertisements on radio, television, and fliers in mailboxes. With large populations to reach, candidates must advertise. It is an essential.
But as “Nutrition” is to Whatever-is-on-a-Stick at the Fair, so “Truth” is to Political Advertising. Nutrition and Stick Food are oxymorons; so, often, are Truth and Political Advertising.
In politics, the intention is to make oneself look as good as possible; the other side as bad as possible, while seeming to tell the truth. This is at its most perverse from the assorted political action committees that have high-sounding names, but represent very narrow constituencies who prefer not to be known to the public.
Oddly, “we, the people”, not only enjoy dishonesty, we seem to crave it. What an odd way to pick our leaders.
Caveat Emptor.
Most people are willfully ignorant of politicians and the position they take, and politicians are wary of the dilemmas of honest politics, so I guess it is wishful thinking to imagine a more enlightened day when political argument can be intense, and those who participate can be trusted to take honest positions without need to trash their opposition or misrepresent their own…. But I can dream.
In the meantime, for those who do care, and do participate, I think it is important to make every effort to get to know the candidates, particularly the ones you are inclined to support, as well as possible, and to actually take the time to work for them in the ways that are available: money and time being the primary ones.
There are excellent candidates out there, well worth supporting. Often times their positive attributes are buried underneath a fog by their opponents, usually in negative political attack ads. Best to simply dismiss these and seek out some semblance of truth from other sources, which are available. And to judge the candidate not only one or two favorite issues of yours, but to consider the reality of the tensions they have (or will have) to daily experience in faithfully representing their diverse constituencies.
Personally I do think there is a major and substantive distinction between parties in this instance, but this blog is not a place to highlight that distinction.
I do offer, however, a historical picture of who controlled the government in Washington D.C. from 1977 to the present: Congress makeup 1977 on001. I felt compelled to do this chart in April of 2009, two and a half months into the Presidency of Barack Obama, because, even at that time, Obama was being labeled a failure by his enemies.
As I say: Caveat Emptor.