I dont know about you, but Nov. 2 cant come fast enough. My political persuasion is not a secret, so its not that Im not keenly interested in the outcome. But while I admit to being a political junkie and strongly rooting for one candidate, this particular presidential campaign has me fatigued for one simple reason: I cant take the noise any more.
The noise? Yes, as in the din of unrelenting attacks by both sides that have given a new, water-torture dimension to the word repetition. As in loud and annoying static when so much energy has been focused on what happenedor didnt happen30 years ago as opposed to issues that are really pressing now and likely to grow more serious with every passing month. As in the “yadda, yadda, yadda” quality of a discourse that is bereft of dialogue. As in the cacophony that results from taking remarks out of context and distorting their meaning with blatant disregard for the spirit of what was originally said.
Youll notice that Im not blaming one side or the other (strong as the temptation may be). This is most definitely “a plague on both your houses” situation.
I invite you to imagine, if you will, what the campaign could have been like if both candidates were forced to engage in dialogue about the issues that Americans tell pollsters concern them the most. If each man were forced to come up with ideas and programs instead of slogans, and then were forced to listen and respond to his opponents ideas and programs (as well as defend his own), we might actually have learned what each candidate intends to do about issues like health care inflation run amok, college tuition costs run amok and a federal deficit run amok.
As it is now we have not much more than fear-mongering on either side concerning issues like the future of Social Security and Medicare and the potential for catastrophe as millions of baby boomers reach retirement age financially underprepared.
It is the height of speciousness to pretend that the slogans that have been volunteered regarding Social Security, for instance, come anywhere near to addressing the gravity of the situation. This applies to seeing privatization as a panacea, on the one side, to doubtful pledges of never cutting benefits, on the other.
And as far as the health care system and the 45 million or so uninsured, does it really further a solution to this crisis to hear, on the one hand, that one candidate wants to nationalize the system (not true) or that the other has not done anything at all regarding it?