One ad in my state shows all the African animals a candidate killed on safari. Another features a candidate running, running, running on a narrow highway, up hills and down, trying to escape the fact that he's "gone Washington." Some use humor to soften the rhetoric, others shock my sensibilities so harshly and thoroughly I'm queasy after viewing them. Candidates for higher office admittedly spend millions of their own money and more millions from political contributions for these ads. When they discuss the problems concerning voters, all make the same big promises that never seem to get addressed once they reach office.
Who can we believe? More than one candidate has gone to Washington with stars in their eyes and the determination to make a difference, only to discover it ain't that easy once they get there. Political gamesmanship must be learned and practiced like a pro to reach their goals.
A friend told me recently that the problem with us -- citizens of the U.S. -- is that we want something for nothing and our checks for free. (Yes, she was quoting a popular song.) I don't believe that's true of the majority. If it were true, we would not be the richest nation on earth and politicians would not have a trillion dollar budget to juggle. So here are the concerns I have for any politician seeking office this year or next. And none of them have anything to do with safaris, how much land they own, or how many taxes they pay:
- why is it that we can't afford as a country to raise minimum wage but we CAN afford to raise YOUR wages?
- why is it that social security is going bust after being used for decades for spending projects other than what it was intended? Is it, perhaps, because Washington politicians have their own retirement plan that pays far better than Social Security, regardless of how long or how short your political career has been?
- why the cuts each year to federal health care plans, such as Medicare and VA care? Can it be because politicians at the federal level have their own special health care plan firmly in place and don't have to pay a dime for anything? Not even a small co-pay?
- why are wars a higher priority than health care, education, and infrastructure? It seems to me that the national budget should be like my own. Financial responsibilities have priority. Then if anything is left over, outside interests can be pursued. If my house, yard, and car are falling apart, that's my fault. If our schools, roads, and health care system are deteriorating, that's your fault because you've sent too much money out of this country.
We live in a wonderful country and I'm thankful to be a citizen. I take my right to vote seriously but I'm not sure any more whether votes have an effect on what happens in Washington. Still, I keep hoping with every election that my doubts will be proven wrong. Wouldn't that be sweet?