I recently had occasion to read some microfiche of newspaper articles from before and after the Civil War. All but forgotten was the personal nature of attacks on politicians running for office and their families. My High School classes (when High School actually taught you something instead of confining its activity to that of a badly run Day Care Center) had covered the lack of civility and the crass accusations that took over the newspapers of the day during the election season...and they were an embarrassment even to a bunch of cynical highschoolers. More than 60 years ago we commented to ourselves and our teachers that such no longer happened and we were far more civilized now. How presumptive were our assertions.
Today's electioneering and candidates actions and statements make those ugly days of the past seem both civilized and moral by comparison. Today's fellow citizens leave me embarrassed. Why?
Somewhere in our inner selves...in our minds, our souls and our very being...we know that attacks on family are just wrong. At some basic level, we know that liars are not good leaders; we know that policy is fair game for comment and attack, but that personal attributes (other than truthfulness and moral behavior) mean nothing. A handsome face does not guarantee anything but a good picture. A less than handsome visage, with or without hair, or with a wig (good or bad), doesn't make a person a bad leader.
There was a time when bad language, baseless attacks, personal attacks, derogatory comments about family members, a reputation for falsehoods would render any person unqualified for public office. There was a time when a person's policies would be demanded and then evaluated for effectiveness and sound financial base. There was a time when the citizens of the United States of America wanted to vote for a person and policies, not against them; we wanted to be for something, not chose the lesser of two bad choices.
Apparently a majority of our citizens have replaced judgement with greed and narcissism; the impossible promise of "free" stuff is now sufficient to cause voters to forego an examination of whether a promise is possible to fulfill, whether a candidate is a liar, whether a candidate is the kind of person that we will be proud to say stands in our stead to the rest of the world. How disgustingly and offensively cretin-like. Our collective acceptance of , and dependence on, such behavior should leave us all ashamed. But we clearly are not ashamed.
We make excuses for ourselves and for our candidates. We say things like: "All politicians lie, so you have to put up with it." You hear, "I wouldn't say it that way but what can you do?" We nod when we hear, "Its about time someone running for office stopped 'pussyfooting' around and called it like it is!" And yes, we do get angry with the failure of our leaders to keep their promises, and to solve problems. Yet we also know that solving those problems will cost us money and now a majority of us don't want to hear that truth or contribute to the cost. The result: we not only allow the lies...we condone them by electing those who lie to us. And then complain about it...such hypocrisy!
So now we look to have three possible candidates, one of whom will be elected President of the United States: a liar, a vulgarian and a Socialist Septuagenarian with policies proven over the centuries not to work after the money of the rich has been spent. Boy, do we know how to pick 'em!
I would not give any one of these people my power of attorney, yet our political system is about to give one of them far more power over each of us that would be granted by such a power-of-attorney. We seem intent on proving to the world our collective stupidity and lack of caring for our country's and our own well-being.