yes, yes i did that

Posted: November 2, 2011 in Observations and Commentary
Tags: , , , , ,

You hear the breaking news, the latest scandal, the newest revelation and pause to once again wonder about the sense of people who run for public office. How large is someone’s ego to think those things said or done in the past will stay buried while they seek the spotlight of national attention? Worse yet, how dim is their grasp of the realities of today’s world to assume, even for a moment, any past misstep will not be exposed? Everybody else seems to know once you put yourself out there your entire life will be mercilessly scrutinized. You know it. I know it. Our friends know it. The guy at the gas station and the woman at the deli know it. Why then does it appear as if every person who runs for office doesn’t know it? These people implore us to put our trust, our country’s direction, in their hands and they don’t grasp this basic truth? Hell, Google alone has the power to topple kingdoms. In 2011 when it comes to public information, nothing is sacred, nothing is secret and everything is available for slicing and dicing. To be ignorant of this is like not knowing the alphabet. A few recent examples:

– Herman Cain said he did not know of reported settlements from sexual harassment suits brought against him in 1990’s. As more details emerged his memory improved. Then on November 1st he said the following: “My campaign was made aware that this story might break 10 days ago. But we made a conscious decision not to go chasing two anonymous sources and not knowing what the rest of the story is going to be.” So, to recap the events in the sequence they publically unfolded:
1) Cain is questioned about settlements for sexual harassment suits against him in 1990’s. He claims no recollection.
2) New information is revealed. Now he recollects.
3) He then admits making a conscious decision before the story broke on how to handle it if came to light. How did he decide he would handle it? By saying he couldn’t recall. Nice.

– For a long time Rick Perry believed in the use of the Confederate flag and related symbols. As Texas’ lieutenant governor he forcefully argued against those who campaigned to remove these symbols from statehouses and other government buildings not only in Texas, but across the South. He wrote a letter to the Sons of Confederate Veterans saying, “although this is an emotional issue, I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques and memorials from public property.” This is but one example. He expressed similar sentiments several times over the years. Nothing wrong with that. He did what we Americans deeply cherish: Freely express his opinion.

Fast forward to this autumn. Texas wants to offer special vanity license plates, plates which bear the Confederate flag. Realizing most of the population lives north of the Mason-Dixon Line presidential candidate Perry now says his state should not do this. “We don’t need to be scraping old wounds,” he reasons. Ahem.

– Anthony Weiner, a rising political star and a newlywed to boot, sends suggestive photos of himself to young women via his Twitter account. One of the women comes forward. He denies it. Wasn’t me! Another comes forward. Not me! Again, more details emerge. Soon the facts become indisputable. After all, it was his account. His response? I guess it was me. Sorry about that. My bad. Bye bye, Anthony.

There are other examples. This is simply a sampling. It’s easy to see how people could be infuriated by multiple aspects of any of these stories. Poor judgment, blatant lying, bad behavior. Take your pick or create one of your own. There’s certainly plenty of fodder. A potpourri of putrescence, if you will. Whatever kicks your meter into high gear is more than justified. But my disgust does not stem from half-truths and unseemly activities. It comes from disrespect and stupidity.

To me it is very clear these folks who only admit the truth when every other option has been exhausted have little or no respect for the people they wish to represent. If they did they would come clean once confronted with the allegation. Don’t dance. Don’t deny. Don’t deflect. Maybe that’s a politically naïve tact to take. I don’t know. Some mistakes will probably cost votes, but maybe not as many as they assume. I do know most reasonable people understand mistakes since we all make them. Most people have far more respect for a person when they fess up without playing games. The sheer refreshing nature of a politician taking personal responsibility without any smoke and mirrors could actually win votes.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, information is everywhere. Once you seek public office you not only have a hungry media digging into everything about you, you also have the weight of the opposing political party trying to derail you, the researchers of the candidates you’re facing, and the multitudes of self-professed truth-tellers whose goal is to get the facts and/or stir the pot. As a candidate you can say “I didn’t take the bribe” or “I didn’t inhale” or “I create jobs” when you laid off thousands of workers while in the private sector. Say what you want. However, whatever seeps from your mouth better be the truth because if it isn’t someone’s going to find out and splash it across the landscape. And when that happens all that’s left to say is, “It was pretty stupid of me to not see this coming.”

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Comments
  1. Doesn’t it seem like the gene that determines political participation also overides the sensibility to understand the concept of your past being the albatross. You, me, the deli guy – we all know that – but we are at home making reubens and putting our feelings into words. And because we aren’t covering up campaign contributions and hiding our love triangles while sending porn shots of ourselves over the internet or via text messaging, we actually have time to THINK about the problems facing us and what might solve them.

    I’ve about reached the conclusion that we need to treat politics like jury duty and every tax paying citizen should be called for a specific period of time and then replaced by another. No special interest, no campaign obligations, no life long political careers and maybe – just maybe – we could have someone representing those of us who aren’t in the top 4 percent or in the majority receiving entitlements – but are keeping them all up!

    There, I’ve said it. Time for the middle class to realize we are keeping up the whole country and nobody is representing us.

    Sorry Trask – maybe it’s time for yoga – or a nap. Luckily I can combine the two!

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    • John says:

      “Without a middle there would be no top or bottom, grasshopper.” – Master Po to Young Caine

      Your ability to nap is jealousy inducing. If you could somehow market the yoga and napping together you could become part of the 1%! Maybe call it Yapping?

      Like

  2. Kana Tyler says:

    I figure the way I blog, it will either be impossible for me to run for public office (too much dirt, and out of my own mouth, at that) or else it would be super-easy (no one would have to wonder if blackmail topics would jump out of the closet–it’s all out already)… 😉

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    • John says:

      The running part would be super-easy. Dealing with the judgmental nature of many of our neighborly citizens might make the getting elected part a bit tricky. At least we’d know what you say is how it is!

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  3. sparklebumps says:

    I have come to believe that the political jobs in this country must be very like Monkism- because why else would so many senators, governers, presidents, etc. have such a hard time keeping it in their pants? And it’s so irritating when they try to cover it up?! I would have much more respect for them if they came forward BEFORE someone found out and said, “HEY! By the way. I did that chic who wasn’t my wife.”

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  4. Its hard to be accountable for your own shit when you’re lambasting the other guy for much the same shit. Its all negative energy. Some of these yahoos couldn’t get elected to the local PTA if it weren’t for the support of the political machines that are the real power behind the government

    I’m so sick of the whole mess. We have problems and our elected officials don’t seem to understand it’s going to take everybody working together to solve them. That or they don’t care. No profit or personal glory in fixing things. Too much grandstanding. Too much mudslinging. Too much bullshit. Too many special interests. Too many self servers. Our system is broken. I don’t know when the balance tipped, but it just feels like we are circling the drain.

    Shit! Now I’m depressed.

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    • John says:

      There’s so much wrong with the political process it’s tough to know where to begin, although you’ve outlined some of the core issues. Like anything else it seems the genesis of any change has to be at the most basic level and that’s with the individual. I don’t care if a candidate has slept with 30 hookers, kicked a heroin addiction, didn’t pay traffic fines or refused to help an old woman cross the street. If that person would simply own up to their shit the shock of their honesty might actually be enough to sway my vote in their direction. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.

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      • Exactly! I would have one other request . . . they do their fucking job. You know the one they were elected to do, not pander to special interests; not playing “superhero” for a sound bite; not campaigning for the next election; not “towing” the party line . . . just the old representing the will of the people – the ones that voted for them – not the ones that bought them like a cheap hooker.

        And this is why I don’t write about politics . . . I’m shutting up now.

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