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Where’s the beef? Getting to the meat of politics

February 3, 2014
By Autumn Mentink (letters@graffitiwv.com) , Graffiti

There's a great deal of commentary in this country about the voting system, particularly about the apathy many people show around election time. Generally speaking, these comments seem pretty justified. Many Americans don't vote. Their reasons are pretty varied, but I think I've pegged one of the key ones. I came across it just before the last presidential election. Wanting to make an informed decision, particularly on the local level, I set out to find what the candidates were running for.

After two hours of searching the only thing I turned up was the paperwork that said it was legal for them to run for office. There's nothing to say what they're supposedly running for. No political agendas, no official plans, no declarations of opinion - nada. I was no better informed then when I started.

I found a lot of mudslinging - name-calling, accusations, criminal records, past transgressions that aren't a crime but should be. Naturally, I found numerous reports of how fine, upstanding, God 'n Apple Pie Americans those exact same politicians were.

Curiously enough, I don't think this is the main problem. It's a problem, sure enough, but it's not the main one. At this point, the American public has come to expect a mix of slander, morality, chicanery, decency, and pure idiocy out of their politicians. We get suspicious if it's not there - and rightfully so. Politicians are only human, a mix of bad and good. I'm not excusing anyone's behavior, but nobody's perfect. What the main problem here is lack of substance. In many cases, it's difficult to even find job descriptions for the office. This is particularly difficult on the local level, where you get vague titles like: 'County Commissioner' and 'Circuit Clerk.' More importantly, there appears to be no official, unbiased record of what the candidates' platforms are.

Yes, I know the platforms are probably a joke. "Politicians lie" is almost and American mantra. But if I've got to vote on something, I'd rather it be on what the candidates are supposed to be running for rather than the quality of their PR department. After all, how can we vote if we don't know what we're voting for?

 
 

 

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