“Voting is not just our right as Americans, but our duty,” he said.
Perhaps there was less of an excuse for voter apathy back then; politics wasn’t quite so toxic and polarizing. Today, the rhetoric from both sides is intended not only to win, but to maim.
Back then, I drank the “Kool-Aid,” along with other classmates. No, actually I probably gulped it, voting in every presidential election since turning 18.
But in earlier years, it didn’t taste quite so sour. With this year’s presidential election upon us, now you no longer need to even take a swig of that powdered drink. Just watching cable news delivers plenty of heartburn. That is, if you even care anymore.
Politics has always been hard ball — never for the timid or tentative, but back then we did not automatically paint a political opponent as a malignancy on our nation. We were more civil; the majority of the time we simply said the other guy (or gal) was wrong on the issues. Politicians rarely spent their precious campaign chests going after their opponents as morally corrupt or mentally-unfit.
They didn’t have that luxury; media dollars needed to be dispersed across a wide range of issues. Today, Right, Left, Conservative, Liberal, Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, Libertarian or Independent — it just does not matter. Unless you’re the infamous Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch or George Soros, we’re all screwed, thanks to these billionaires and the Super-PACs they help fund.
Nowhere does the adage, ‘Money Corrupts,’ rings truer than in politics (always has), and it is the record sums of money raised by outside interest groups that represents the real cancer on the body politic. Nobody argues that. Close to $2 billion is expected to be spent this year by such groups to snag the White House.
The American campaign process and any civil discourse have not only been compromised by these outrageous sums of cash and the vitriol it fuels, it has been thoroughly torpedoed. All hands abandon ship! And now there are just too many holes to ever get this ship of state to float again. In previous elections, at least the patch jobs worked — for a while. Now, many of us just shrug our shoulders. It’s as if we’ve taken a collective shot of Novocain to the head and numbed ourselves to each new fund-raising record. Honey, what’s for dinner?
Sadly, “we the voters,” no longer decide the president. The highest bidder does. Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right? So let’s squeeze these billionaire ‘king makers’ lemons and get some lemonade: To save the taxpayer money on a perverted electoral process, I suggest we contract with a major auction house, like Christie’s or perhaps Garth’s would be a better choice. I believe Christie’s is British-owned, and put the White House on the block. Hell, sell the furniture, too.
Paddles held high, dark-suited lobbyists and their special interest clients can save the American people big bucks while spending their own to buy this influential branch of government. Hey, guys! You can finally come out from under the shadows now.
Proceeds from the sale of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. go directly to paying down the national debt, the bugaboo of this year’s election. No ifs, ands or buts! It’s brilliant. Think about it: This process will be a lot more honest and certainly less hypocritical and profitable for our debt-torn nation. Further, we’ll all be less inconvenienced when an incumbent or candidate visits our town. No more traffic detours and tie-ups making our stressed lives even more difficult. Crap, it’s going to take another 30 minutes to get to the office today!
“Do I hear Three Billion? Three Billion, Three Billion, Three Billion. Four billion! The gentleman from Priorities USA Action, thank you. Do I hear five billion, five billion, five billion…..”
One final note: Let’s tap Sean Hannity of Fox and Lawrence O’ Donnell of MSNBC, two of the more politically vapid on-air personalities, to rotate auctioneer duties every four years so the process appears non-partisan.
Nothing counts for more in politics than appearances. I’ve even brainstormed a catchy new slogan for this ultimate ‘White Sale.’
“America: Opening bid is Two Billion.”
No? Not inspirational enough? Not even if I place a flying eagle over it?
OK, I’ll work on it.
Hey, you thirsty?
Steve Goldstein is a Dunwoody resident.