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Self-placed politicians on pedestals must end unwanted mudslinging

Monday, August 4, 2008 | 1:16 p.m. CDT

I seldom read about anyone addressing the issue of the irreparable harm some political junkies inflict on the public during election campaigns. People running for public office are expected to let unkind remarks roll off of them like sweat. Unfortunately, they are not the only people who may take offense at careless statements made by candidates, their minions or pundits.

We are a nation of diverse people. We have not all arrived at the same point by the same life experiences. When these political characters start attacking people because of their political beliefs, their insults do not always land where they were meant. Most of us know people who were wounded as children by unkind remarks, and more than a half-a-century later, still have memories of the moment. As some would believe, it's not about political correctness, it's about understanding the nation's history and the fact that many have endured a troubled past for a variety of reasons.

To proceed as if we have all enjoyed the wealth, privilege and exalted position of the upper class is insulting. I find myself losing respect for certain journalists and political figures every week because of the ill-conceived remarks they have made. Americans come from many racial and cultural backgrounds and often, when caught up in spirited debates, words come out of the mouths of the debaters that have unintentional consequences. As a result, many people are revealing aspects of their personalities that some of us have not seen before.

Undoubtedly, some people think that once the election is over, all will be forgiven and it will be back to business as usual. But, life is really not a television program. It doesn't end when the cameras stop rolling.

We have made great strides, as a nation, in trying to heal the wounds of the past. But intentionally or unintentionally, many folks are using this election as an excuse to pour salt on unhealed injuries. Some public figures just need to shut up. In addition to all of our other problems, like gas and food prices, housing, unemployment and immigration, the last place we need to be is at each other's throats. As hard as some are working to unite people, others are doing their best to divide people on the basis of political party, race, age, sex and economic class.

No matter which political candidate wins the election, we are going to all be living in the same country together after it's over. People who have party, race, sex, age or class issues need to get over themselves and realize that for a lot of Americans it's sink or swim time. Most people don't have the time or energy to deal with issues that the majority of individuals have overcome in the past. Several are just sick and tired of watching and listening to folks trying to dress up their various isms to make them appear to be something else. In other words, we have seen all of these manifestations before, we know exactly what they are, but some of us choose to move on.

I'm hoping this will be the year when voters decide to form an Independent Party. The Republican and Democrat parties, over the years, have done many things right but have also done many things wrong. The present mess in the Department of Justice is a prime example of politics gone awry. When loyalty to a political party consumes one to the point that he or she is willing to break the law while serving in the very halls responsible for preserving justice, things have gone too far. The number of individuals who have been employed in the high places of government who feel they have a right to be above the law and thumb their noses at Congress is astounding. As far as I'm concerned, the most intimidating document I've seen in my life is a federal warrant which reads: The United States of America versus John Doe. If one is the kind of person who can brush that aside, he is definitely one tough cookie.

But apparently, serving one's political party has become the most important aspect of some people's lives and they are willing to sacrifice everything for the privilege. Some children are brought up by politically fanatical parents and so they come by their beliefs as an inheritance. In some cases it takes a traumatic event to jar them loose from their politics. A jail sentence cures a few.

I hear people say that voting for anyone other than one of the two major parties is a waste of a vote. Others believe that to vote for either of the political parties is to condone their activities and assure them that they can continue to misbehave without facing consequences.

By allowing the political leaders to forget that ours is a government of the people, by the people and for the people, we have endangered our entire political system. When the separation of powers concept is ignored, our freedoms begin to slide down the drain.

What's next?

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at nolen@iland.net.

 

 


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