I don’t know what I was expecting when I went away from the squabbling and pettiness of the world for a few months to deal with personal issues, but much to my disappointment upon my return to concerns of world changing issues, I’ve discovered nothing has changed. I am referring to the new barrage of political commercials hitting the airwaves slinging mud in all directions in local and state elections here in the garden state.
Now I know that New Jersey politics holds little interest for most of the world. Hell, it holds little interest for most Jerseyans, but we are still subjected to the battle for the governorship and the plethora of local mayoral and council elections. It isn’t that I object to this, as every politician has a right to advertise, although I’m old enough to remember when a guy running for local mayor only put up signs with his name on them and didn’t advertise on local cable telling me why his opponent is untrustworthy scum and why I should cast a vote for him instead in November.
November, for crying out loud, is six months away. I thought I was through with mudslinging political messages extolling the levels of deceit political opponents will sink to in order to win a much coveted position of self-importance. The staunch conservatives are slinging mud at the slightly less staunch conservatives in a one-upsmanship battle to prove who is the more conservative and narrow-minded demigod striving to rule with an iron fist in a velvet glove mentality, the constituents who foolishly cast a vote.
I never thought I’d say this, but I really do encourage people to stop voting. I don’t mean just a few people, but everyone. I seriously think it would be a good thing if everyone stopped voting. I can’t for the life of me understand the mentality of the flock following these tyrant-wannabes running on the bad reputations of their opponents.
What the hell ever happened to honesty? What happened to running on your own merits? What happened to respecting others? Oh wait. I remember. George W. Bush happened. I don’t care how much the republicans balk at my statement, or call me a Bush basher, because it was the recent national elections that have spurred the new direction in all political arenas. And it was the GOP that cast the first stone. (No, I’m not going to tell you what that stone was, because I really don’t give a damn. If you care, do your own research).
The point is we are not living up to our potential of decency as a race, but sinking to the depths of our darkest souls in order to possess menial levels of political power. If I believed in the Devil and Hell, I’d say we were well on our way to visiting him or her in a hand-basket. Alas, I don’t believe in evil in a religious sense. I do believe in evil in humankind, in the sense that we have a choice to do the right thing or the wrong thing, and I now see the lowest common denominator being reached with alarming accuracy.
I would ask when man stopped striving to better himself, instead opting to lower himself to the depths of degradation in an attempt to place himself on a pedestal over his fellow man, but I already know the answer to that. Again I come back to George W. Bush. (Yeah, yeah, I’m bashing the Prez. Get over it).
I’m not a parent and never will be one, but I ask all those parents out there, “do you really want your children to grow up to someday be as conniving and deceptive as our current political leaders?”
All of this, all the political mudslinging, depresses me. I thought, or hoped, during my time away from caring about the mundane political issues and battles, the human race would’ve grown up and realized they are acting like a bunch of horse’s asses and start treating each other with respect and cater to a high level of intelligence. I was wrong, and this gives me the blues.
Maybe I’ve returned my interests too soon? Maybe I should just give up on the human race and concentrate on my own selfish wants and desires, and not voice my concern for the future of the human race, because it really isn’t worth my time? Maybe that’s what I’ll do? Just say the hell with it all. That’s what my father did.
Yep, dad never voted. He didn’t like politics or trust politicians or most anyone for that matter. He lived a good life, and seemed to be happy. He was a simple man with simple wants and needs. He treated people with respect and they treated him in kind. He wasn’t perfect, but in comparison to the men who are our leaders and in some cases role models he was a freakin’ saint.
Yeah, I’m showing disrespect for the system, and those running it, because it’s got me down. I get depressed when I realize how disappointing the human race is. If I want to be happy I’ve either got to lower my expectations or stop concerning myself with the actions of others and strive to be the best person I can be.
Maybe that’s the secret to happiness? To do my best and be content with that, and celebrate my life like a perpetual party to be enjoyed is the way to go. Maybe then I’ll get over my blues?
Until then, I just have to watch the mudslinging and watch where I step.
Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.
ABOUT ROBERT A. MELOS
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
6.6.05 @ 7:49a
Wow. So true. Nice Chow.
Why are we not evolving? Or are we? I like the tribute to your father here Robert. I am not a Bush fan either.
If Hillary runs for president we can get Bill back in the whitehouse.
6.6.05 @ 9:19a
Man, I actually know the song you reference in the title.
It's hard to be optimistic about politics anywhere, much less NJ. However, without an engaged public to hold the politicians accountable, it continues as is.
Nice new pic, btw. Pretty dog!
6.7.05 @ 12:08a
Zeus thanks you.
I doubt Hillary will run for president, or get the support of the democratic party. Howard Dean is still the best potential candidate to win against a republican president. However, in local and state elections I find the use of smear campaign television ads to be more disturbing than I did for the presidential elections.
First I find it disturbing that a simple mayoral election such as in nearby Edison Township is resorting to local cable ads it makes me wonder what happened to the small town politician. I mean, it used to be that pretty much anyone who wanted to run for an office could throw their hat into the ring, but now they need a budget to include television advertising. that's just wrong on a local level.
And I love using song title references. I figured everyone would get that reference.
6.7.05 @ 12:31a
I think only those of us in the near-to-just-over 40 category, Bobby.
There's no question, in my mind at least, that Bush is bad news. But I think your nostalgia is playing tricks on you. Politics has always been dirty, now it's just dirty in the open.
6.7.05 @ 12:50a
I don't mean to say politics wasn't always dirty, but it was a bit more innocent in the way dirt was being played. Or perhaps it was the mudslinging seemed less vicious.
I just think it bothers me because I've always known our local politics was dirty, but to see it on local cable just seems to raise the stakes to a disturbing level.
I know we can't have honest politicians, but do we have to have all of them rutting around in the mud like the lying pigs they are?
6.7.05 @ 1:44a
Bobby said: I don't mean to say politics wasn't always dirty, but it was a bit more innocent in the way dirt was being played.
If it makes you feel better about modern American politics (which I wouldn't guarantee), consider what happened to President Samuel J. Tilden.
If you never heard of a President named Tilden, that's because he got screwed out of the job by Rutherford B. Hayes and a Republican-controlled Congress in the 1876 election. As if that weren't bad enough, a Republican-owned newspaper added insult to injury in 1878 by claiming that Tilden, a Democrat, attempted to purchase the electoral votes of Florida and South Carolina - something that would have been way out of character for the former NY governor who had helped to oust Boss Tweed and his ilk from municipal and state government.
I guess what I'm getting at is, it's always been really dirty and there's not been anything terribly innocent about it. And we've always had hardcore-biased media outlets to tell us what our opinions ought to be. We just have bigger and badder ways nowadays of getting the news out so that EVERYONE can be all polarized and stuff within a matter of minutes.
6.7.05 @ 2:51a
I think I'm becoming used to the mudslinging, but seeing local mayoral commercials on television is new to me. For all the hype of how advanced we are, I still think of local mayoral elections as small town and not something that requires a candidate to spend money on "air time". That's something I expect from a state or national level election, but it is taking politics from the Joe Doe's and grass roots Mr. Smith types and putting it firmly in the pockets of the wealthy.
If you're a small town grass roots candidate, you've now got to raise funds for television ads, and spend the money to have them made. The average good intentioned but poor man doesn't stand a chance. That's what really bothers me.
Sure the politicians are dirty, and even the good intentioned grass roots guy is power hungry to some degree, but now unless he's got cash backers, he doesn't stand a chance against an opponent who can buy commercial time.
6.14.05 @ 3:56a
Where are the Statesmen? The people like W. Churchill, FDR, Wilson..ect? Why is the game becoming the lowest of the low to win? ugh.
6.14.05 @ 6:05a
I don't know as it's really the lowest of the low winning, but more then wealthiest candidate, or the candidate who can afford the most publicity winning.
In local primaries it seems candidates who bought the most commercial air time took the races against those who believed local township mayors didn't need to resort to the tactics of more sought after offices.
The money needed to run such campaigns will nip the careers of future Ralph Naders in the wallet before they get started.
Our political system isn't designed for a good man, or an honest man, but simply a rich man. By putting the moral value on money, even in light of corporate scandals like Enron, we send the message to the future generations that money can buy us everything we want including power.
The saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. I'm waiting to see what becomes of the current "winners."
6.14.05 @ 10:41p
A local New York primary election was won tonight by a man who had more than $800 thousand in his "war chest" as opposed to his opponent's less than $100 thousand in her "war chest." So the message is, the money you spend means more than the platform on which you stand.
6.18.05 @ 5:08p
I would ask when man stopped striving to better himself
In America, that would be in the sixties, when we willfullly surrendered individuality in lieu of group affiliation, and began allowing the government to tax the crap out of us and make all of our decisions for us, from birth to retirement.
And I don't care if anyone bash's Bush, but he is first politician in awhile - definitely the first president - willing to surrender power to individuals. That is, of course, if money is indeed power. How politically suicidal for him to push for that in Social Security, and for what? A nation of people are too scared or indolent to take advantage of it.
When, or better yet, will things get better? They won't, at least until some magic day when everybody, all members of society, are willing to pass on the free rides and are able to wipe their own asses.
6.19.05 @ 2:38a
I guess I see things differently. I'm not old enough to really remember the 60s, but I understood them to be a time of the individual instead of the group. Also, I don't see Bush as a politician who is interested in the individual, but rather the corportation. His attempt to reform Social Security, in my opinion, is a smoke screen to take attention away from the fact his war isn't winnable because in war no one ever wins.
6.21.05 @ 12:47a
Well, shit, I don't remember the 60's either, but I've read about them. They did seem to emphasize individualism then, which is odd because all of the politics that seem to have emerged from that era are derived from social humanism, which is completely contrary philosophically. Great individualists like Malcolm X were around, but somehow we only gave a day to MLK who, whatever else he was, was not a great individualist.
Anyway, look, bashing Bush is fine in my book, but not to the point where it distracts us from what's really going on. I gotta draw the line there.
You can hate republicans and their 'corporations', but you have to apply that same dislike to non-profit corporations, like the unions, NAACP and Rainbow/Push, don't you? You probably didn't hear that Jesse is in trouble again, massive fraud from illegal campaign activies for Kerry? Or that Hillary's chief fundraiser from 04 has been indicted like the coalition of Rabbi's from New York back when she first ran. Or that the Fords in Tennessee committed fraud and used taxpayer money? Not bashing there, matters of public record, all of them.
But you won't hear about any of that because the media doesn't cover it. They do not want to hurt democrat chances in coming elections, and the truth would kill 'em. So instead, they'll busy themselves and us by exxagerating TWO actual cases of abuse at GITMO, and THREE accidental cases. They'll count every death that the 'insurgents' in Iraq cause but none of the arrests or terrorists that we kill. They will never give any details about how many schools are now open there, how much of the country has water/electricity, or what percentage of the population is gladder than all hell that we went there.
6.21.05 @ 1:15a
I think one of the reasons they don't dwell too much on the good being done in Iraq is because a large portion of Americans who support Bush and his policies, don't care in the least bit about what goes on in a foreign country. They are seeing their jobs going to foreign countries, as advertised on MTV.
I don't think Hillary should be in politics. I think she would make a good president, but there is too much negative publicity around her. I also think Howard Dean would be a great president. I didn't think Kerry would be a great president, but I think Bush is the worst thing to happen to this country in the long run.
I still feel he is selling the US out to the Egyptians. Instead of concentrating on oil he should've put more money into research for alternative fuels, but that would tick off the auto industry and oil companies.
He should've concentrated on Osama Bin Laden, instead of shifting interest to Iraq. In fact, the media is to blame here. They still don't show real interest in the truly important.
Saddam Hussein was in court the same day the Michael Jackson's verdict came out. Did anyone see any coverage of Saddam's 1st day in court? Heck, we saw everything about MJ's circus.