The thing that pisses me off more and more with each election cycle is not the BS we hear from politicians or political groups, it’s the folks who allow the politicians and political groups to sway their vote.
This is arguably a naive frustration on my part when considering that this country fostered the growth and maintenance of televangelists.
We’ll believe anything. About anyone. At anytime. Ad nauseum.
Too often some politician or zealous blogger will comment that the “hardworking American taxpayer” deserves such-and-such. How about the possibility that the hardworking American taxpayer needs to pull his or her head out of NRA, NEA, GOP, DNC, NAACP or Teamsters literature and do some original thinking?
Yep, more and more, us voters are the problem.
Don’t care if you vote off to the left or off to the right, but please attempt to have a little mental fortitude and discover on YOUR OWN if that’s where your best interests and true beliefs lie.
Healthcare for example.
The problem with the new federal healthcare law is not necessarily the law itself, it’s that we have a “solution” thrust upon us by some of the same people and public and private institutions who created the problems. We’ve been BS’d into believing there are only two choices: The crap that Obama and the Democrats say will work, and the crap changes the Republicans promise they will make if allowed to govern.
The result is the American people then argue with each other over false choices. There are much better solutions out there, but lobbyists for hospitals, unions, drug companies, insurance companies, the AARP and other protectors of narrow interests box in your Congressman. And how do they box in your Congressman? With the following conversation.
Lobbyist: "You realize, dontcha Congressman, that we have more than 10,000 association members in your district, and most of them are registered and likely voters, and most of them will vote the way we influence them to vote?"
And that’s it. A one sentence, one sided conversation. And it works because it works. It works because we’ve proven we’re more than willing to vote based on a focus-group tested spin job plastered on a pretty mailer we consume in between watching rounds of Wheel of Fortune or “Liking” Facebook posts with touchy-feely messages layered on pictures of Christ or kittens.
Another example is this shiny, well-financed stuff we get from Americans For Prosperity (AFP). The AFP is a political arm of the powerful Koch Family. Now, before we continue, please know this is not an attack on the Koch interests. They have just as much right to get involved as anyone else. In fact, it’s interesting that when billionaires get involved for liberal causes they are welcomed by most in the media, but when billionaires get involved for conservative causes, the media welcomes attempts to stifle their money and free speech rights.
Anyway, back to you gullible voters.
In Arkansas, the AFP sent mailers to more than 20 legislative districts to let voters know that the Democratic candidate in the race is a liberal tax and spender. They do this based on the candidate’s support of legislation that called for a November ballot item in which Arkansas voters may consider a limited-term half-cent sales tax increase to fund major highway funding projects in Arkansas.
I asked Teresa Crossland-Oelke, Arkansas director for AFP, when they’d be sending similar mailers about Republican legislative candidates like Reps. Jon Eubanks, R-Paris; Stephanie Malone, R-Fort Smith; Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch; who also have on their records a vote for the highway program legislation.
“While we disagree with Rep. Eubanks, Rep. Malone and Rep. Stubblefield on these votes, there are other policies we share common ground with these legislators which kicks in the 20/80 percent rule,” Oelke noted in an e-mail reply.
20/80 rule? WTF? I’ve been a political observer for more than 25 years now and this is the first I heard of a 20/80 rule. The response received from Oelke when I asked about this 20/80 business was a classic example of double-speak.
“The 20-80 I referred to was in reference to elected officials not policies. We understand very few legislators will have a perfect track record. In no way do we support tax increases,” she noted.
Did you catch that? In explaining how the AFP makes exceptions and supports some folks who support tax increases, she said “in no way” does her group support tax increases.
Oelke is free to issue this nonsense because the AFP issues much more BS than small media outlets like The City Wire could ever track.
And don’t think we’re picking on just the AFP. They are merely a recent example. A wide range of liberal and conservative groups spend billions of dollars gaming the system to their advantage. It is what they do. The only damage they do is if you allow them to determine your vote. If they do your thinking for you, they win, and your best interests are almost always lost in the unwinding of post-election political pretzel policies.
What’s more, groups from the Tea Party to the Teamsters demand a rigid code of belief, but they don’t follow the same. Instead they submit behind-the-veil exceptions like the arbitrary 20/80 rule Oelke wants us to swallow.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: When these outside groups don’t follow their own rules, you shouldn’t follow them, either.
Rule-of-thumb No. 2: These groups rarely follow their own rules.
Rule-of-thumb No. 3: Toss any political literature that comes to your house. Especially in the closing days of an election cycle.
Not every Democrat is good. Or bad. Not every Republican is good. Or bad. Not every Libertarian, Green or other third-party candidate is a whack job who believes in fairy dust, mushroom therapy or staged moon landings.
If you base your vote on what a Party or political organization tells you, then don’t be surprised when the political clowns walk off with the good silverware, booze and hookers, and you are left with the bill.
Miss Ada Mills often told me that we get the government we deserve. And it’s hard for me to believe we don’t deserve the cluster f*^k that now consumes this Republic.
So, the next time you want to rant about what’s wrong with government, first find a mirror.