Friday, March 7, 2008

‘Gee our old Lasalle ran great’

Do we have a presidential candidate? Do we have a president? Is it November yet? Can I unbury my head from the sand?

Don’t get me wrong. One of the utmost privileges of being an American is the ability to vote. Countless lives have been lost in past wars to ensure that our rights and freedoms are held high and I do not take that lightly. As a military vet, I know firsthand of the sacrifices. That should be able to allow me to lend credence to being able to offer an opinion. An opinion that many may share, but are afraid to voice. I am not afraid.

The choices of candidates we are faced with have traits that do little to distance themselves from their competition. Call them Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, on and on. The same painting with a different brush. Just meaningless names by people looking to box a candidate into a category where they really don’t fit. In my opinion, there is little difference between any of the people running for office. Qualifications, background and respectability all run short of distinguishing any one of them from clinching the vote.

I hear “great speeches,” heralded by the press as the answer to our hopes and dreams, but what do they promise? Where are the fixes, where are the answers and where the heck are the guarantees that any of this rhetoric will last past the inaugural speech? There are none. It’s business as usual, with the kissing of babies, big talk and mud slinging to ward off the opposing candidate’s same level of muck and mire. Not one has offered insight into our infrastructure, transportation issues or the problems of the transport industries.

Do I seem disgusted? Do I seem bitter? Not really, considering that with this election, just like so many of years past, we have been given the same choices of the “Lesser of Two Evils.” Some choice. Why is that we can never find a candidate – or 3 – that befit the title of something more grand than “Lesser of Two Evils.”

Why is it we can have 50 candidates for Miss America and the selection process is a good bit better, smarter and, dare I say it, entertaining, than that for the president of the United States. And you never hear the Miss America candidates trashing the competitors. They win on their own merits and though a good selection process, not the least of which is a swimsuit competition and some sort of entertainment such as a song, dance, yodeling or playing the accordion.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we should adopt the total packaging from Miss America to the POTUS selection. Lord knows, Hillary in a swimsuit, Obama playing the flute and McCain doing a soft-shoe could send even more voters running for the hills. Even the mental images are quite painful, so don’t blame me if you get nightmares. And considering the likelihood of dangling chads, voting dead people and the usual political cronyism, anything would be an improvement.

In my head I can hear Archie and Edith Bunker singing, “Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.”

Wake me in November when this shipwreck is over.

God bless America.