It's election season. Specifically, it's something they call "mid-term elections," which must be insulting to the people whose terms are coming to an end - or just beginning - in a couple of weeks.
The ads and attacks are running fast and furious, and my mailbox has been loaded with stuff from the local candidates who think they can save the world one township at a time. I hate to tell them the truth, especially since they probably wouldn't recognize it.
What they rely on most is our short memory and the idea that we like whatever is not happening now. The latest thing is the old cry of "less government and lower taxes," two ideas that would seem to go together unless your memory is long enough to remember the elections of the late 1980s when the idea was the same. Since then, we have endured more government and higher taxes, which clearly indicates that politics have failed us. Surprised?
Since Barack Obama was elected a couple of years ago, we have been hearing that he is ruining our lives and has plunged the country into Marxism or Socialism or whatever "ism" we can be told is bad for us. That's a remarkable transformation for such a short time. It's similar to turning a cruise ship. It would seem to be too big to more so quickly, but if we are to believe the opposing party, that is precisely what has happened.
As a result, the current strategy is to tell us that we need less of what we have been given, and since we always want the opposite of what we have, that is a viable strategy. Consider:
Military lifer Dwight Eisenhower was followed by youthful liberal John F. Kennedy. His administration (and the subsequent Johnson inheritance) was followed by the more conservative Nixon. Nixon's criminal behavior was followed by the overly honest Jimmy Carter. Carter's high inflation administration gave way to Reagan, who convinced us of the "get government off our backs" routine. That ideal lived for a little while, and we even elected his vice president once.
Old, stodgy G.H.W. Bush was followed by young, vibrant Bill Clinton. When he proved to be too vibrant, the conservative George W. Bush was elected (twice - so there's a hole in the theory). That made us want the change that the younger and more intelligent Obama gave us. Now, we are being sold another grand vision, and we are seeing the emergence of the conservative "Tea Party," led by Bible-loving conservatives who tell us that they'll give the government back to the people. Around and around it goes.
What is also remarkable is that the challengers are telling us that the same people we elected two or four years ago are now suddenly incompetent and are stealing our money. These are the same people who told us that the ones they were running against were incompetent and were stealing our money when they ran against the last group. Is it possible that they're all incompetent and are stealing our money?
And they wonder why only 40 percent of registered voters vote. I'd bet that the longer one is registered, the less frequently they vote. It's just a guess.
So go ahead and vote.