Primaries are BORING, right? Voter turnout is typically dismal in the United States, particularly in
mid-term and primary elections. No one cares…we go about our day, doing our thing and then we wonder how so-n-so got in office. Hmmm? Maybe that's why the candidates feel like they need to jump up and down and, basically, stand on their heads to get our attention?! Like kids fighting over who gets to play on the monkey bars, American politics has degenerated into childish antics. “He did this….she did that….that’s not fair…that’s not true...it's my turn...I want, I want, I want...waaaa!” MAMAs - sound familiar? Of course it does. Our kids interact with this same immature level of banter. The only difference is they have an Opinionated MAMA to make sure they play fair, take turns and use their big boy/girl voices. Our kids are not responsible for solving the huge problems of the day, but our politicians are!
Take Delaware’s new sweetheart, Christina O’Donnell, for example. She's adorable. She won the Senate primary as the GOP Tea Party candidate, against the best efforts of the mainstream GOP. She’s now in the news clips claiming she was a wiccan - yep, she says she used to hang out with witches!? Her hocus pocus, viewpoints on pre-marital sex and the lien on her house are more talked about than any political agenda she may have. But, what exactly is her agenda? Freedom of witchcraft? No sexting by yourself? Fiscal free for all? What will her policies be? What is her political platform, without all the witchcraft? Why is she talking about SEX when the economy needs some Viagra? Why is she shouting about balancing our federal budget when she can't balance her own checkbook? What is really going on? These are the things we need to know. But, it’s just more fun to talk about the silly stuff…certainly more juicy...definitely more helpful to TV ratings than boring brass tacks, right? Christina O'Donnell is camera ready and gives great sound bites. That's all that's important on the political playground
these days. Should we even mention that we have ELMO and a comedian testifying in front of Congress. Have we all gone mad?
Millions of people throughout the world envy our political system, one in which candidates get to speak to their constituents directly and citizens have the right to freely elect their own representatives. So, why don't we take elections seriously and listen to important policy points? Why don't we get into the nitty gritty details of the candidates platforms? Why do we only want the snarky sound bites? People say that they do not vote for several reasons: no time, not enough research on the issues, or that their single vote does not really matter in the larger scheme of things...blah, blah, blah...even more common is the sentiment that people are frustrated with the options on the ballot when they are asked to choose between two equally boring candidates. The fact is when there is an interesting, polarizing candidate who says some wacky stuff, it gets us excited. Then, we wonder why smart, hard-working candidates are so few and far between...because they are B-O-R-I-N-G and we don't vote for them! The political discourse has withered into a game of tug-of-war and name-calling because it makes it more "fun" for us to stay engaged. We actually like the drama...we want to hear from the gossip girls and we do everything we can to avoid being on the receiving end of the bullies, otherwise, we're left with the usual cliques. The really cool people just walk away from the playground of politics.
Education, wars, healthcare, immigration, economic recession are just some of what is at stake here. It is more significant that we fix these fundamental problems and re-build our country, than who gets to rule the sandbox during recess. Instead of hearing intelligent debate on these very important issues, we find candidates slinging sex scandal gossip, extreme rhetoric, racial slurs and references to bartering chickens for healthcare. Good grief?!@#$! The world is watching and we are behaving like a bunch of rowdy 2nd graders.
So, yes, it's easy to see why grown ups may be turned off by politics. But, we can’t give up now. Not today. Not in the face of all the enormous challenges that we have - not for ourselves, but for our children. It’s time to show our kids that we care about the issues that face our generation and theirs. We need to send the message that these are serious times and we need serious problem-solvers. We will not accept the childish behavior of our politicians - we are already wiping noses and packing lunches for our own kids, so enough with the snotty behavior and free lunches from our elected leaders. It’s time to remind ourselves that "we [indeed] get the government we deserve." We might be temporarily entertained by all the playground antics, but our kids deserve better!