Election Season

My wife and I have done a fair bit of travel in Colorado over the past month.  Turning on the television in the hotel reminded me of the benefits our family derives from not having a television in the house.  It also reinforced the absurdity of our election process.

Juxtaposed with the viewing of election ads is the opportunity we have in Salida to see letters of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln’s walking stick and a violin the Thomas Jefferson played.  These and other items are on display at the Pueblo Bank and Trust in Salida.  Each one of the of the Presidents previously mentioned are looked upon as ideal United State’s citizens and major contributors to our country during extremely difficult moments in history.  Their accomplishments are held as examples of what a citizen should be.  Yet every one of these men has some blemish on their personal story.  Each one has made major mistakes, suffered failure and angered others by what they had said or with their actions.

We are at the end of an election cycle.  The content of the ads and the coverage have little to do with what the candidates vision is for our county, state and country.  The commercials rarely provide a coherent statement from their candidate.  Rather they focus on what their competitor’s flaws are.  I wonder if it was as easy to distribute a message at the times of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln if they would have had the opportunity to serve.

I look at the information offered by the advocates of most contestants and ballot initiatives  during the election and see certain characteristics that are worth noting.

I wonder who would promote any idea or candidate and not want their name attached?   I question my actions as a responsible citizen if I vote for someone or something that someone is unwilling to publicly make a stand for.

I question if our process has become a parody of Saturday Night Live when both sides flood the airways with gaffes and misquotes rather than valuable content.  I can tell you that when your job is to speak in public you will make mistakes.  Some errors of speech can be telling.  Most are simply accidents that are not representative of what that person feels.   These misquotes or quotes from someone’s distant past, that do not accurately depict what the now believe,  do a disservice to a serious process and create ridiculous foci that distract from the important issues of the day.

I question those I meet when they write a candidate off because they disagree with one stance of that person’s.  No one will agree on everything.  The single issue hot buttons stop dialogue and do not foster solutions.  You might find that people of opposing views are good people and might even offer a perspective that could be of value to you.

Finally, I am frustrated by a process that is reported as a horse race.  I want to know what the candidate believes and how they plan to get us there.  Not who is ahead in campaign contributions or ahead in the polls.

Our process is supposed to move us toward solutions.  One candidate or another winning is a worthless exercise if their winning is the only end.  Voting is the least we can do.  We are so lucky to be in this country.   Look beyond the white noise before you act on your voting privilege.