Smedley Votes NYET!
Ernest Smedley, the Bay’s cantankerous geezer, who opines on practically every subject known to man (be it religion, science, television programs, scams – you name it) – has climbed upon his soapbox one more time on a subject that is currently invading our lives: it is the political campaigns that are being waged now and until this coming November 4. Our television viewing is interupted every ten minutes or so with some draconian portrait of some poor fool dumb enough to run for public office. Our mailboxes are loaded with flyers and circulars depicting a candidate as close to being a serial killer as one can get. We get phone calls from strangers telling us to vote for some guy named “Schmuck.”
Smedley says that there ought to be a law against this invasion of our privacy and sanity. Political campaign managers and their complicit candidates should be locked up for distortion, manipulation, deceit, innuendo, chicanery, dishonesty, fearmongering, hate speech, lying, false testifying, smearing, gossipmongering, propagandizing, exaggeration, and name calling – that they employ to get their man elected. Hitler and Goebbels at their worst (best) could not hold a candle to today’s political operatives. These slicksters now use the magic of digital technology in creating images, sounds, videos, moods, scenarios – real or imagined – for the ultimate abuse of truth in all forms of media – TV, print, audio, and the internet. It is as if Orson Wells was behind the camera on these TV ads – strange and dark, running over with innuendo and “gotcha!”
Smedley’s political views lean to less government in most areas but not to the full libertarian extent. He also understands the passion that others have for their ideas that the government should be more active in the lives of its citizens. Smedley holds to a high view that people on both sides of an issue can disagree based on some very solid, reasoned convictions. He does not assign underhanded, selfish motives to those he disagrees with. If Senaor Mark Pryor believes Obamacare is a genuine benefit for people, it is because Pryor sees this approach to medical care as having great value, and not because he is told he has to vote for it in order to hold on to his job. Likewise, his senatorial opponent, Tom Cotton, seeing Obamacare as unworkable and adding too heavy burden on the nation’s finances, opposes it out of the same basis – according to what he believes is right, and not because he is beholden to some wealthy sponsors.
But is this the story we hear? No! Pryor is shown as sharing the same bed with Obama with a sign over the bed telling us that Pryor hates veterans! Really! Similarly, Cotton, we are told, has no regard for farmers or seniors, and cannot be trusted! Really! Is this true? Both sides are busy painting each other as devious, dishonest puppets, taking orders from some nefarious evil political cabals. But here is the rub: If Pryor and Cotton are honorable men, why do they allow their campaigns to use such abhorrent tactics, vilifying their opponent as depraved and dishonest? Why do they cave in to allow such ugly manipulation?
Over the years, Smedley, like many other geezers, has been educated the hard way to the fact that mankind does not play fair, that distortion and dishonesty are often used by others to gain some advantage – be it money or power or position. And after being stung so often, Smedley is totally fed up that he is taken for a fool and that he will no longer allow himself to be pulled into the vast webs of deceit that are part and parcel of today’s politics. Though he favors Cotton’s political views, he will NOT vote for him nor Pryor, nor any other candidate that stoops to negative, denigrating campaign tactics – be it Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, or Black & Blue!
Can it be that our society has surrendered to the spellbinder, the distorter, the ego driven politician that integrity is only an option taking a back seat to what’s in-it-for-me? Are we now so stupid, so venal that we cannot discern truth from lies and distortions if it means we get something added to our pile?
Smedley concludes that a candidate with good character should not allow his campaign to run on any other basis than fairness and exemplary ethics. If a candidate can not hold to these precepts, then he is unacceptable. NYET! Like Diogenes, Smedley is looking for just one honest candidate. Is there one out there that can free himself from the immorality that permeates today’s political campaign tactics?