As this voting season heats up I have taken the time to think about what it is about the political process which so badly sticks in my craw. Here are some random, unordered thoughts.
-I do not believe that any politicians who make it to the national level have any interest in anything but maintaining or increasing their own power.
-I don’t believe anyone gets into politics in the first place without having a healthy dose of self-interest.
-I believe that the more power one accrues in politics, the less enlightened that self-interest becomes.
-I don’t believe our representatives genuinely represent anything any more.
Watching the republican and democratic primaries over the past couple of months, along with the political ads, only enforces my dim view of the people who want to be president. Look at all the attack ads. Look at the mud-slinging. Look at the waffling and character assassinations and not-so-cleverly hidden past transgressions.
Look at the dishonesty and spin.
If the candidates are directly responsible for these vile, pathetic, evil bits of media foeces, then I want none of them in my country, much less running it.
If they are NOT directly responsible for the attack ads, then their supporters – those who they represent – are. What does that say about someone, if he or she represents the kind of people who take joy in committing vicious character assassinations?
If the people creating the attack ads and propaganda are soldiers-for-hire, then I have this to say: You are very talented. Please do something more constructive with your time.
In the spectrum between “Would sell my soul to save my mother” and “would sell my mother to save my soul” I believe that the higher in the national power structure a politician rises, the farther toward the second pole he or she moves.
This might simply be the only kind of person who can accrue any political power. We can only hope that those people have a sense of enlightened self-interest once they get to that level. I have my doubts.
I have believed, since the Clinton re-election campaign, that all presidents (and pretty much everyone else at or near that level) are sociopaths to some degree or another. It may be that, in order to sleep at night, having made the decisions people with vast amounts of power have to make, a person must have little or no conscience.
So where does all of this leave us? Are we in possession of a political system which can only elect the most vicious dogs in the pack? Looking at the media from the past few weeks, I am beginning to be afraid that that is the case. If so, and if we are unwilling to completely revise the political process in this country, then at least let us be honest about the character of the people we are choosing. None of them are “Average Joes”. All of them – by virtue of extraordinary character, extraordinary connections, extraordinary viciousness, or extraordinary resourcefulness – have amassed more money than most of us will see in several lifetimes. And they are using it all on advertising.
Let us see, then, if whoever wins is able to accomplish as much while in office as he (or she) was able to accomplish on the way there.
And let us hope not too many of their mothers are sold in the process.