Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama/McCain and the end of Civility

There was once a time when everyday was a sunny day, you could leave your door unlocked all the time, and politicians had some sense and civility. Those days are over.

This election, as almost every election of the past 50 years, has turned to negative attacks and "gotcha" moments instead of issues and facts. Is this trend getting worse? Can it ever get better? Recently McCain released an ad admonishing Obama for supposedly calling Palin a pig... but if anyone listened to the phrase before and after it or listened to it within the context of what he was saying they'd know obviously that he was referring to the new "Change" bandwagon that Republicans have gotten onto. Now Obama has decided that due to the new more negative tone that Republican ads and stump speeches have taken that they will allow and no longer condemn 527's (which are independent political groups not under Federal Election Commission law) if they release ads attacking McCain-Palin in a very negative fashion. A kind of a signal that the gloves are coming off.. and the Obama campaign is ready to rumble.

You notice that? I just used a boxing reference. Boxing. Boxing is just the opposite of politics. In boxing you use brute physical strength to pummel your opponent, in politics you use words and ideas to convince the audience that you are more worthy and have their values and best interest at heart. I am not trying to say that politics has always been civil but there was once a certain measure of a person's honor that only allowed them to stoop so low. Today it seems that respect and honor are gone.. and instead we have the win-at-all-costs ideology. I would rather lose an honorable man than win hardly a man at all.

What are your thought? How can we as a populace force politicians to talk about the issues instead of focus on scandals and missquotes?


Shakti Singh Dulawat said...

I am from INDIA
i want to say that we are in favor of Obama
he will provide us good relationship

WeblogLearner said...

What else is new? I even know onlya single satesman and he existed before i was born! What politics means to me? Dirty!Dirty dity and dirty game! One candidate loves to throw dung into anothers face and vice versa.

Mark said...

If it were up to me then I'd remove the names of parties and candidates from voting forms, replacing them instead with a checklist of important issues. How you mark the issues determines who your vote goes for. For example, if someone ticks yes to indicate that "lower taxes, healthcare reform, better education, climate change" are important then their vote ends up going to Obama. If a person indicates that "cars, company profits, invasion of privacy" is important to them instead then the Republicans get their vote. The determination of which way aspects are weighted is set and agreed upon before but kept secret from the voters. This way people vote for what's important to them - not who's on TV at the moment and not some party they think they've got an affiliation with - and the politicians can simply work on drawing up policies that are good for the people and the country and not waste time attacking one another since it won't make the slightest difference to a voting form.

Obviously, this isn't particularly practical unless you move to computerised voting (that's actually reviewable and not prone to fixing) but I feel that something along these lines is needed to remove the entertainment aspect from politics that sees too many people picking someone or a party because they think they should, they always have, or because the media says they should.

Lee said...

Honestly, I am glad Obama took the gloves off and is ready to rumble. The GOP has always employed totally nasty methods and smears. The RNC was nothing but a hate fest, it was sad to see such hatred in one room masquerading as politics.

Obama, to me, is one of the true statesmen - there is a reason the entire world loves him. Issue being, he is up againest the GOP smear machine - so unless he wants to end up being swiftboated to death he needs to play their game.

Tim said...

It is a shame that politics in the US is getting dirtier. The winner will be the most ruthless and nastiest.

The country will suffer in the long run.

Len said...

The only way we are going to force politicians into talking about the issues is to stop voting for the ones who don't. I can't see that happening in the United States in the very near future. Too many of us (and by us I mean them) are into Saturday Night Wrestling and all that other crapola on the tv tube. We're (and by we're I mean they're) looking for entertainment. The one who can sling the most mud and entertain us the best is the one we're gonna vote for... cuz we's nothing but a bunch of dang idiots.

Anonymous said...

We as a society do it to ourselves. The main problem is we slaughter and demonize our politicians so much, that no one in their right mind will ever run for office. So are aren't left with the best people for the job. We are left with scraps that no one else will employ and who are so power hungry they will put up with the crap as long as they can get their finger on more power. I mean honestly- would you employ Bush in your business? I wouldn't trust him enough to put flyers underneath windshield wipers. And its not that I hate him- I've met him and actually LIKE him, on a personal level. But, I wouldn't employ him, god forbid.

The second major problem, is we won't LET the politicians give us a straight answer, because we don't want to hear the tough answers.

Example 1- We can almost eliminate drug use and end the "war on drugs" once and for all. All you have to do is shoot drug dealers and people caught with narcotics. Yet no one REALLY wants to do that because we almost all know someone good who has done bad things, such as smoked pot, etc. But, that WOULD eliminate the problem. But let a politician say it, and it's political suicide.

Example 2- To cut the budget we need to cut jobs. No way around it. So which politician is going to say they are cutting out the useless and redundant ATF, Treasury Police, Federal Police, etc.? Or shut down and fire 3/4 of the nations correctional officers (we won't need them if example #1 is followed). Again, political suicide.

So since they can't give us answers we don't want to hear, they can only attack each other and act basically childish. But we the children demand it be that way.

Or, are we ready for one of our candidates to stand up and say instead of us spending millions a year on border control, we instead should bomb Mexico and tell them to keep their own citizens under control, or we will continue to bomb them until they do. I can promise you, after a few 2,000 pound bombs dropping, we could leave our border because there would be 5,000,000 Mexican troops on guard making sure no one crossed. Problem solved, minimal cost.

But no one will ever say it, and get into office.