There’s a mid-term election on Tuesday! I know this likely comes as a surprise to most everyone … especially people in highly competitive states including Alaska, Arkansas (my state), Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina where US Senate races will be decided. I’ll just bet there hasn’t been a noticeable increase in political ads where you live, right?! Okay, so you’ve noticed a slight uptick in the televised ads … but no phone calls, right? And your unsolicited mail? What’s that been like? A few extra slick postcards and political handouts, but not so much you were annoyed by it, huh?
Okay, maybe I’m overstating that a bit. Thankfully, the end is in sight! Notwithstanding the potential for run-offs, we’ll be free of the intense mania for another couple of years … although I’ve already heard the prediction from a couple sources saying “The 2016 campaign will kick off on Wednesday, November 5th.” Seriously, couldn’t they just wait until after the holidays?
When it comes to elections, I think there are plenty of people who remain mystified by the plethora of candidates and their efforts to position themselves in a more appealing light than their opponents. My consideration of elections inevitably begins with the awkwardness of Pedro and Napoleon in the film Napoleon Dynamite. Yes, the film presents high-schoolers, but political candidates often seem as awkward and bumbling, don’t you think?
My personal engagement with politics has waxed and waned. I do have strong convictions on certain issues, though I think they’re based more in personal conviction than in partisan political ideology. (Some might argue that point with me, but unsuccessfully, I think.) As I’ve gotten older, I’m more reactive about raw political maneuvering but also more mellow to distinctions signified by an R or a D. I’ll explain.
In the first part (my reactivity to political maneuvering), I despise the exercise of raw political power. A partisan who needlessly smears the character of his (or her) political opponent is not to be trusted in my view. Campaign debates should center on issues, not personal attacks and innuendo.
Relating to the second part (my mellowing about the distinctions signified by R or D), I can agree or disagree politically with someone, but I won’t disrespect them because we disagree. I have friends who don’t agree with me politically, but we share common ground on other issues.
In this current campaign, I’ve read horrible things about one candidate or another. I’ve come to realize most ads carry a kernel of truth, but they often skew facts in a way to (1) beat up an opponent while (2) building up the candidate whose ad it is. Frankly, if I were prone to believe all the trash being shoveled out on the pavement, I wouldn’t want to vote for anyone.
Here’s an example. I don’t know Senator Harry Reid, but the things I’ve read about him in numerous places are far from complimentary. This is a man who is someone’s husband, father and grandfather. I tend to think he must have some redeeming qualities.
I also don’t know the Koch brothers, but their name (Koch Brothers actually) has become synonymous with scoundrel! Not long ago, I read about their charitable donations to various hospitals as well as other institutions and scholarship funds. Does this generosity seem out of sync with what we’d expect a scoundrel (or a pair of scoundrels) to do? Again, I know relatively little about these men, but their generosity is admirable.
The broad brush that paints people as evil (whatever its particular persona) deserves to be challenged. Just because someone doesn’t share my political views, he or she is not evil … should not be construed as the devil incarnate!
Let me add to the I don’t knows I’ve already referenced. Here’s one more: I don’t know how Tuesday will turn out. (I voted early.) For some, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth … not for me. I tend to look at elections philosophically, trusting the outcome is in God’s hands.
But in anticipation of Election Day, I composed a bit of verse to commemorate this mid-term event. I think I pretty much covered all the bases. Oh, and don’t forget to Vote For Pedro!