Write Again . . . Don’t we deserve better?

Published 6:52 pm Monday, October 27, 2014

An office holder — a very high office — referred to the political campaign time as the “silly season.”

That’s kind. Much too kind. Would that the worst that could be said about it was just “silly.”

No. Unfortunately, it’s more than that. For starters, it’s the “money season.” A season that sometimes seems never to end.

The amounts of money now spent in/on political campaigns is insane. Reprehensible. Yet, not so very many years ago there seemed a glimmer of hope that campaign finance reform was possible. At least some limited reform.

The McCain-Feingold measure, as initially conceived, offered that hope. The more conservative forces in the US Senate made sure such reform didn’t happen. A watered-down version finally made it through that august body — the Chamber of Egos — but the Supreme Court later effectively opened up the flood gates of money, so that now there are virtually no impediments to who and how much the PACS can give, and the Super PACS can give to any entity not directly linked with a campaign any amount they wish, without disclosure. Of course the contributors know what and for whom their money is intended. Even more scurrilously, almost all of such money is used for negative campaign advertising.

Gone, mostly, are the days when we were informed as to how wonderful a candidate was, and what he/she would do for us. They still like to say they will “fight” for us. Lord, we need less “fighting” and more working together. What’s wrong with principled compromise? We were once taught that was the essence of a democratic form of government. The ideology want none of that.

So, Mr. Column Writer, what advice, suggestions do you have that would make the process better?

I’m glad you asked.

First, we need term limits for every elective office in the land. Every last one. A president can only serve two consecutive terms. Why not term limits completely across the national, state and local offices?

Then, eliminate financial campaign contributions from all the PACS, Super PACS, corporations — regardless of party affiliation or philosophical leaning or bias — and allow only moderate amounts be given by individuals. Some reasonable form of public financing — yes, tax dollars — for presidential elections could be implemented.

Now, of course some one would find loopholes in such a system. They always do. Constant examination and oversight, with needed tweaking, would be an ongoing process.

Okay. Enough of that.

On a purely personal level, I — and others, I’m sure — strive to stay away from gatherings where politics will inevitably be a main topic. Almost without exception there will be a strong tilt toward one political perspective. Especially among the angry old white guys. But certainly not limited to just that one “demographic.”

Souls such as I — and there are a few of us — choose to remain in the shadows of political discourse. We just don’t want to hear or be a part or target of the constant negativism.

Those of us who know that there are at least two sides to almost every consideration, and believe that no political party, and few folks have the unassailable, correct viewpoint on every issue, often choose to remain silent.

However, there are those who, in their righteous indignation and superior intellect, rarely refrain from expressing their strong views, without being asked, and do so without regard for how someone else might feel about an office holder, candidate or issue. These people seem oblivious to respect of, and courtesy toward, others. Others who have not expressed their own political views, and who just may not be in agreement.

So. Once again, enough already.

There’s not going to be a diminution of big money in the campaign realm any time soon. And negativism and mean-spiritedness probably isn’t going to abate.

We deserve better, but it’s what we have.

I’d rather read a good book.

APROPOS — “ Nowhere are prejudices more mistaken for truth, passion for reason, and invective for documentation than in politics. That is a realm, peopled only by villains or heroes, in which everything is black or white and gray is a forbidden color.”

— John Mason Brown

“Through These Men”