Beginning tomorrow, the airwaves will be void of the commercials that end with the candidate saying “and I approved this message.”
I’m reasonably certain that the only people who will miss them will be the bean counters who are raking in the advertising revenue.
The thing I won’t miss is the discourse between the right and the left. The angry rants in social media, newspaper columns, talk radio, and Sunday morning talk shows has reached a level of heat that I’ve never witnessed in my professional career.
In recent weeks I’ve gone on my own listening tour to hear why others feel that the passion of politics has been reduced to name calling and fiery speech. Some suggest that lost in the political rants are the moderate voices. Where have the moderates gone? Is it out of the question to believe that there are citizens who are financially conservative and social liberals? And if people like that do exist, how will they make a choice in this election?
My concern is what happens next when our senators and Congressman go back to work. Each party points the finger of blame at the other and in the meantime nothing is getting done. The deeper issue and question is what will it take to strike a moderate tone and compromise?
But it seems if you label yourself a moderate in either party it in effect becomes the death knell of your political career.
A couple of examples:
GOP Sen. Richard Lugar, a moderate from Indiana, lost his primary election to Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock.
Outgoing Congressman Heath Shuler of North Carolina likely won’t get a farewell party by the Democrats since he routinely challenged House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Many people on my listening tour share that concern and the recent ads reflect it. I’ve noticed that Congressman Scott Rigell, R-Virginia Beach, and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine have both run ads talking up their intent to reach across the political “line in the sand” to handle the people’s business.
Will most people go to the polls Tuesday with a hope and prayer that the candidates we select will actually do what they promise?
When I was growing up, our teachers graded us on how well we interacted with our classmates. Getting high marks for “plays well with others” should also be a requirement for those we elect to office. The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are no places for “my-way-or-the-highway” political games. Nor should we entertain another invitation to the “Party of No.”
Last week I voted absentee because I will be working long hours on Election Day. I met an interesting group of folks who were voting early for a variety of reasons.
In line were seniors, a young lady voting for the first time, and a number of disabled people. We struck up a conversation about politics without getting political. It was nice.
Most folks expressed concerns about the economy, jobs, the future of Social Security and health care. And each person had different ideas on how to make things better. All agreed, however, that what is needed in Washington are voices of reason. Interesting that the people in that line may have been from different political parties but shared the notion that not getting the job done was not acceptable.
Whoever is elected to the highest office is but one man. It’s much like the coach of a football team, he can call the plays but the team has to execute the plan to win the game.
I asked the young lady who was voting for the first time what was her expectation as she cast her ballot.
She smiled and then her face grew very serious and she said, “I expect them to lead us to a better place.”
The senior next to me in line leaned over and whispered, “It’s good to have goals.”