Friday, October 14, 2016
Politics and politicians are not normally on my “Must see, Must listen to, Must read” agendas. This year's election campaigning may not be a fair example of why I feel this way for there are many other reasons including near-terminal boredom. Still 2016 is such a staggering mess it has discouraged men and women all across the spectrum, including the most ardent disciples of our political process.
I come from a family of Republicans. As a kid, I can clearly remember my parents' dismay at Wendell Willkie's 1940 loss to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. When I was old enough to register for voting I immediately did so. As I came back home that day, my mother and father, feigning casual interest, asked me how I signed up. I replied “Communist.” If you listen carefully, you may be able to hear the echo of Dear Dad's roar to this day. It was also an early indicator that my career path did not lead to stand-up comedy.
No hero, I. But at the same time my military service involved three years of my life dedicated to protecting our national cornerstone -, personal freedom and the privilege of voting. Now we are all witnessing the nadir of political activity in the Clinton-Trump campaigning. For starters, neither candidate attracts me. As “T”, a close and respected friend, said to me about Hillary; “I wouldn't trust her as far as I could throw her'. I feel that way too. As for Trump, I believe he is certifiable, ready for a padded cell. His recently released comments on women I took as a direct assault on my mother, my wife, my daughters and the other female friends we hold dear. Unforgivable.
Some argue that principles underlying the philosophies of the Democrat and Republican platforms are bigger than any one man or woman standing as a candidate. Perhaps this is so. My very small collection of admired politicians includes the late (and surely great) Thomas Phillip “Tip” O'Neill who memorably said “all politics is local.” I'll take that remark and apply it to the importance of candidates on the “under card” here in Florida. We have critical offices to be filled this election cycle.
On the national scene however, the people of this great country deserve better than the two presidential candidates we have been offered this time round. That's the biggest history lesson of all from 2016.