07/28/07 — Season of bluster: When campaign rhetoric swirls, take refuge in common sense

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Season of bluster: When campaign rhetoric swirls, take refuge in common sense

As the presidential nomination battles continue, it is going to get harder and harder to keep track of who said what, who voted for what and who really believes what he or she said this week, last week or five years before when he or she was running for another office.

The news has been filled with finger-pointing, smoking guns and so-called objective responses from candidates that sound a whole lot more like playground name-calling than substantive discussions on the issues.

And then there is the ever-changing menu of what the issues are. There seem to be as many as there are candidates. The only constant seems to be the war debate. After that, there are plenty to choose from, depending on where you live and your personal circumstance.

And through it all, the battle rages on.

It is truly amazing just how many people think they are qualified to run this country — and who are certain that they know exactly why their opponent should head on back to the farm.

And we have only just begun to listen to campaign promises. Expect a whole new round of shucking and jiving as the primaries begin.

No matter which party you root for or whom you think you probably will cast your vote for if someone asks you tomorrow, the next few months of presidential politics could do little more than make you never want to think about “the issues” again. And how you feel now just might not be how you vote come November.

It could be a little stressful, if you decide to take it seriously, so you might be tempted to change the channel long before Election Day rolls around.

Alas, however, it really is up to all of us to decide who would be the best Democrat or Republican for the job — and then, ultimately, who belongs in the White House.

There are going to be plenty of people who will want to tell us whom we should choose. There are pundits who make their living testing the wind and offering their view on the true front-runners.

And then there are the polls. Those and a $1.50 will get you half a cup of coffee.

So, what is an overwhelmed voter to do?

Easy. Use a little of that common sense that your grandmother always made sure to remind you you had to wade through rhetoric and blustering to decide what really matters to you — and then find someone who represents those same ideals.

Politics has become entertainment because we have allowed it to become that way. We are as interested in the scandal and bickering on the political trail as we are in what idiocy Hollywood has wrought.

This election more so than any other, we will have to force ourselves to focus on not what we are told is important to us, but what really matters to this generation and those who will come after us. It is a responsibility we might not always relish, but that is more critical than ever now.

With that in mind, we can’t lose as long as we listen carefully, analyze objectively and then go vote our conscience.

And then, after all the voting, whining and cheering are over, we can get back to what is really important — who will be the next American Idol. (Just kidding, Grandma.)

Published in Editorials on July 28, 2007 5:13 PM