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By Jeremy Little February 3, 2012

“I Believe”

Note to the reader: If this article appears vitriolic or overly harsh, I apologize in advance.  My intention is to accurately depict what is wrong with American politics and relate these problems to how Americans and global politics can be improved.  To my mind, the function of politics should be to usher in forward progress and change.  Politics today are frequently regressive and are too often haunted by hypocrisy, broken promises, dishonesty and moral shortcomings. My objective is to present how present day politics and politicians are a disappointment to our society, and how politics, politicians and global leadership can be improved. This article is opinion, though, of the unvarnished kind, and indulges in a little ad hominem humor and hyberbole as well, so please take it for what it is.  

 

American politics is a cesspool and America seems to be constantly afloat in a corrosive sludge of choices.  As of now, the seemingly four choices an American has for President are embarrassing and positively discouraging.  For the Democrats, there is Barak Obama (O’Bummer) and for the Republicans the unappetizing four way selection of: Newt Gingrich (Gingwretch), Mitt Romney (Rob me), Rick Santorum (Scrotum) and Ron Pau l (Dr. Cheapskate). 

Our analysis of this rich selection of choices begins with Barak Obama, the incumbent.  Elected on a slogan of “hope, change, yes we can!”, the catchphrase of his presidency has been “no he can’t.”  He has failed to significantly improve the economy as he promised, failed to revolutionize education, failed to fix the immigration issues.  He has failed.  His election promised a different Washington, a federal government free of hyper-partisanship, a government that would truly bring hope to the people.  His election encouraged all the disenfranchised people to believe in a government that would elevate them and make them proud.  Instead, America finds itself in a bitterly partisan war of attrition, with Obama leading the charge of the light brigade. Of course, it should hardly seem a surprise that Obama has failed to achieve success in the presidency.  His campaign focused entirely on catchphrases and slogans of what he would do.  The one issue he failed to address is the major issue that has haunted his presidency: “how he would/could accomplish all that he promised.”  Pity there are no five word catchphrases in his pocket for how to fix the economy.  The reality is that Americas has had enough of the catchphrases, enough of the cheesy infomericals.  The American people are ready to return their defective “Shamwow” (frequently advertised infomercial product in North America), but unfortunately the Republicans seem to only have pet rocks and fool’s gold to offer in his place.

Mitt Romney made his fortune by ruining lives and destroying jobs.  How ironic that he now proposes to assume the presidency with promises to create them.  Yes, I’m sure our favorite quarter-billion dollar man really does feel the average wage earner’s pain, but on the off chance he doesn’t, he’ll be more than happy to settle for causing it.   Now, of course, he isn’t all bad.  Just last year he talked about the impact of economic development on the environment, and I’m sure the wild geese were touched.  Pity that when trying to fundraise money in Pittsburgh, Steeltown, he spoke about how releasing carbon into the atmosphere is not dangerous to the environment and those who claimed that it was were being melodramatic.  Basic logic would suppose that our former governor of a liberal state and current Republican candidate was calling himself melodramatic, except the truth is that he is anything but. He is the embodiment of the complete lack of principal, the politician with the slick hair and the phony smile that will do and say anything to be elected, and as such is prepared to change his opinion on demand.   Romney is like an abstract painting: people can see in him what they will and he is what people want him to be.  Of course, the result of a man who decides on his principles based on the polls and based on campaign donations has the moral resolve of jello and the durability of a glass vase ejected from an 83rd floor window of the Empire State Building.  If answering honestly about his positions on the economy and healthcare, he would say “I believe…” and let the people with the money he needs or votes which he needs fill in the blanks. 

Rick Santorum paints himself as a social issues conservative.  His hatred of abortion and gays is his main selling point.  He has nothing else to offer.  The beauty of Rick Santorum is that he is a distraction, the Paris Hilton of politics, the “I can’t believe he just said that” guy.  Now of course as with any outlandish and self-deluded figure, he has his followers, but fortunately they are not the general public, and the man would probably struggle to defeat Tom Delay in a general election.  Sure, Delay is a convicted fraud artist, who is deceased, but he would have significant appeal among women seeking an abortion, gays, blacks and virtually everybody else who might prefer a semi- charming fraud artist to a deranged bigot.  Santorum is quite simply living proof that a nation could do worse than having a dead leader, a nation could have a living leader who thinks like Rick Santorum.  The bigotry Santorum expresses is quite simply utterly disgusting, he is of the distorted and utterly sick view that women seeking aboritons are a bigger blight on the nation than poverty, healthcare, government corruption and damage to the environment.  Now, the reality of women being forced to have abortions by circumstances is tragic and there is no disputing that, but the idea that people like Rick Santorum seek to prey upon those vulnerable women, rather than helping them, and seek to generate attention from this painful choice is morally repugnant.  Therefore, I suggest and sincerely hope that Rick Santorum will withdraw to the miserable corner he came oiut of and will stop spewing the miserable form of shale gas(an even lesser gas) in a public forum. 

Newt Gingirch is an impressive combination.  A dearly beloved former speaker of the house who combines the morals of an alley cat, the reputation of a drug dealer and the face of a platypus.  Among his faults, more than 1.8 million dollars in “consulting fees” from government supported companies he’s voted in favor of(Freddie Mac), an extramarital affair while decrying Bill Clinton’s infidelity, and an ethics investigation for which he is proud to have turned over more than a million documents.  Leaving aside the fact that having to turn over more than a million documents is nothing to be proud of, Gingrich is an outright disgrace.  He touts himself as a political and social conservative, which seems to indicate that he is against his opponents’ infidelity and he is against spending government money on people who do not offer him bribes.  Were he to do these things himself, of course, it would be a justifiable act rendered all the more righteous by his love for his country.  Gingrich’s campaign does have a positive aspect to it, so much has emerged about Gingirch’s political and moral ethical failings that virtually nothing an opponent might reveal about him later could shock the conscience of the American public.  In any event, a future scandal would not shock Gingirch’s conscience since he has made quite clear he doesn’t have one.  Who better to decry the immorality of his opponents than a resident expert?

Ron Paul is heartless. One wishes one could be diplomatic, but he truly makes it difficult. His social policies seek to turn the clock back some two hundred years. His novel ideas are a cross of pseudo-conservative sycophantic dribble, deranged lunacy and failed ideas from the past.  Ron Paul is the type of politician who feels that the expenditure of tax dollars to rescue hurricane victims is a violation of his right to freedom.  Accordingly, he suggests that we eliminate FEMA.  A touching sentiment from a physician!  Ron Paul claims that Emergency Medical aid is simply unaffordable, even for hurricane victims.  He is a symptom of the epidemic of doctors who dream of practicing to cure themselves of destitution rather than to help people at any point or in any way.  Ron Paul is not a doctor; he is a health consultant.  A doctor implies a sense of ethics, a dignity and a morality which defines professional life.  That simply is not Ron Paul.  Ron Paul’s policies are defined by a pervasive sense of greed, selfishness and lack of forethought who should offend everybody across the political spectrum.  He is the epitome of everything a cynic hates about humanity.  For the sake of education, progress, human rights, common sense, economic balance and sanity, I would recommend voting against him.  While we should all thank Ron Paul for his generous offer to turn the clock of civil progress back two hundred years, we should firmly and politely decline.  Perhaps, then Ron Paul might go back and develop a cure for selfishness to be sold for profit and without taxes of course.  If Herman Cain made voters want to dial 9-9-9, than Ron Paul makes human beings want to dial 9-1-1-.

In conclusion, I believe in hope and change.  I am convinced that it is possible to have a better America and a better world.  I feel that is possible for us to be better both collectively and individually.  I applaud many of the ideas touted by both the parties and all the candidates.  I agree with the democrats that we are our fellow human beings’ keepers and we should not turn our backs on those who have fallen on hard times.  I agree with the republicans that our actions as a society, a country and a world should be responsible and considered.  I agree that our attempts to make some people’s lives better should not make the lives of so many others worse.  I applaud the messages of hope, change, justice, peace, resistance to tyranny, intolerance of hypocrisy and ethics touted by each candidate, but regrettably I find it to be packaging.  Under even the most modest of scrutiny, none of the candidates stand up to anything near what they claim and their messages and promises are nothing more than aesthetically pleasing, transparent packaging that reveals clearly the snake underneath.  It would be wrong to say that these problems are limited to American politics and equally wrong to suggest that America is to be criticized as a country because of several of its politicians’ failings. 
Many of the problems that pervade American politics, are problems that pervade global politics.    I think the solution to both American and global politics is to do away with the sanitization of candidates’ humanity and the unwillingness to speak of their opinions honestly and frankly.  Every candidate aims to paint themselves as the perfect person, the perfect American.  They each try to appear considerate, friendly, successful, loyal and they love taking feel-good pictures in local towns and alongside their “perfect” loving families.  As human beings, I think that we are all imperfect.  Our families are imperfect, we are imperfect and our lives are imperfect.  There is no value in pretending that we are flawless.  

The solution to the dishonesty and cynical ploys that surround politics is to have candidates who are willing to show their flaws, willing to share their opinions and sincerely committed to helping other people, their countries’ citizens, and the world as a whole.  People may disagree as to how to best achieve this and I think that is a worthy debate all people could learn a lot from.  However, this hypocritical, solely self-serving approach to politics from all sides of the American equation are destructive and valueless.  I sincerely hope America and the world can and will do better.  I believe it will.  Ultimately, I believe that each candidate, each leader and each person should recognize their obligation to drive the lives of their neighbours, their fellow citizens, and all people of this earth forward.  We all stand to benefit from a better world.  The Republicans are right that people must learn to try to do for themselves and push for themselves, rather than making no effort and expecting things to just come to them, as if they are somehow entitled.  The democrats are right that we must support each other and help each other both locally and globally, rather than stifle each other’s progress and turn our backs on others at their moments of adversity.  Progress is not vacuously moving our lips to deliver empty promises.  Progress is moving forward through honesty, sincerity and a commitment to improving the world and doing better.  Being in politics for none of these reasons is cynical and valueless.  I sincerely applaud those politicians, few though they might seem, who have entered politics to usher in progress and who make sincerity and honesty their platform.

About the author

Jeremy Little wants to change the world. In his view, the essential obligation of his generation is to make the world a better place for everyone, an obligation he feels should also be the focus of world leaders. He has strong views about modern politics, which  he sees as having lost its sense of purpose and achievement. However, he remains an optimist, as well as a realist, and prefers to focus on what unites people rather than on what divides them. He is a fourth semester student in Social Sciences who enjoys traveling, new cultural experiences, hearing interesting ideas, and television and movies. 

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