Our beloved Brew.

Our beloved Brew.
R.I.P. Big guy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'll Be Watching HBO's 'The Newsroom' Reruns Instead of the Political Conventions

The presidential election is about two months away and I am very much an uncommitted voter, in the sense of supporting one candidate or the other. That is not to say I am undecided. My mind is made up. My vote will be cast, and in the opinion of many, it will be what is traditionally called, "wasted." And no, I won't be supporting the dreck that is the Tea Party.

Political conventions in America, like the major parties they represent, have degenerated into nothing more than corporately underwritten pep rallies for the faithful and schoolyard attacks on the opposition. It seems the highlight of each convention is when someone delivers an anonymous speech writer's well-crafted zinger toward the leaders and positions of the other party. All the mystery about who will be nominated was taken out of the process years ago through the primaries. The building of a party platform has become a game of smoke, mirrors and vanilla completely lacking in substantive detail.

Pundits and candidates alike will tell you this year's presidential election is a clear cut case of opposite views. I disagree. Determining what it will take to save Social Security, create meaningful jobs, right the economy, educate our young, protect our nation's true interests around the globe, address issues of immigration, health care, energy, the environment and myriad others so vital to America's future are completely bogged down in a broken and corrupt political system. The workings of a healthy Republic have given way to a two-party system that resembles a deformed, two-headed creature joined at the brain, heart and pocketbook.

While watching The Newsroom on HBO this week, I asked myself, "Why is it that real politicians don't stir my soul with compelling arguments in the way Jeff Daniel's character does when he delivers one of his fast-paced, anchor person rants?" Simply put, I believe today's politicians don't traffic in truth or meaningful solutions; they seek to spin every issue with an eye toward re-electability and they avoid true clarity on topics for fear their views will be used against them in some future opponent's ad clip. Their handlers, primarily interested in getting the next election "win" to keep their own business gravy train in motion, long ago lost their concern for anything but getting their propped-up, empty suit across the finish line in first place. I've met many of those handlers and in some cases they treat their candidates as puppets, viewing them as interchangeable, largely uninformed tools, who, left to their own devices, would self destruct without strict muzzles on about what, when and how to speak.

I will not invest one minute in following either political convention. The Democratic and Republican Parties have completely alienated me. Until there is a party that supports a 28th Amendment similar to the one that has been floating around FaceBook for years, a Congressional Convention, strict term limits, and the doing away with lobbyists on Capital Hill, I choose to "waste" my vote. In doing so, I believe I am doing my patriotic duty to contribute to the dismantling of a political system that can no longer be incrementally repaired. As the saying goes, "Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered." In a sense, the political hogs are in charge, and metaphorically speaking, experience tells us their days are numbered. As other disenfranchised Americans make the same choice I have, we temporarily leave the government and political process in the hands of the self serving, which History has proven leads to sometimes lengthy, painful, but much needed, and profound change.

President Obama has been a huge disappointment to me despite my optimism when he was elected. It seemed at the time that regardless of how he performed, the "genie was out of the bottle" and America would no longer limit its choices for the highest office in the land to rich, white men, lawyers.

In practice, his primary goal appears to me to have done as little as possible in his first term that might ruffle feathers, with the exception of health care, while raising obscene sums of money for himself and his reelection.

Romney, the great corporate deal titan, having already generated obscene sums of money for himself, appears to be fixated on a more glamorous acquisition known as the White House.

Yes, it would be nice to think we can fix the mess in Washington by selecting and electing better candidates. That can't happen in a system as dysfunctional as we have. Disagree? Then tell me why the only people who can run for the highest office in the land are multimillionaires and billionaires. Why does it take war chests of billions of dollars to "get a message out" that reeks of the same, old, tired explanations of why "I'm better and he isn't." Why is it the Supreme Court, which itself could stand a new charter, saw fit to give corporations and special interests unlimited spending in political campaigns.

I find laughable that both major parties and the Tea Party are crying "Take Back Our Country!" The most significant decisions facing our country are now in the hands of those with the most currency to spread while the courts and the halls of Congress are signed, sealed and delivered to the highest bidder. Political parties are fueled by huge "investors" on all sides. Everyone is bent on controlling the White House and Congress. As it stands now, we have an Executive Branch and a Legislative Branch that have accomplished very little except to fund wars for the past two decades.