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Food For Thought

One thing I won’t miss, once this election is over with, is the atrocious grammar that comes along with all those campaign speeches. I don’t know if the people who write those speeches are that ignorant of standard English, or if they think it makes them sound homespun. Either way, it offends my ear and, I’m sure, the ears of at least half the people who made it through Mrs. Cotter’s eighth grade English classes.
If you aren’t sure about “he” or “him,” “Me” or “I,” just finish out the implied sentence and it will become crystal clear. “Do you pay more taxes than him pays?” sounds wrong. If what you really mean to say is, “Do you pay more taxes that he pays?” you know in a second that you should be using “he” whether or not you add on the word “pays.”
The same rule will help you to understand why those campaigners should say, “Nobody cares more than I (care). Rather than, “Nobody cares more than me (care).” And one of our well-educated candidates said, “I hope you will help him and I to become your next president and vice-president.” Leave out “him and” and what do you get? For shame.
Another thing I’m going to be delighted to find missing from the airwaves, is all the nasty, negative ads that try to make the opponent look bad. What happened to all those early promises to run a clean, fair campaign that sticks to the issues? Everybody seems bent on twisting the truth, exaggerating statistics, quoting out of context, scaring people with dire predictions about what the opponent will do. It’s gotten to the point where I’m not even considering voting for someone, but rather voting against the one I find most offensive. Right now, that’s a pretty fine distinction. I may have to resort to keeping track of the number of calls I get in support of the various candidates. When the time comes to cast my vote, I’ll simply vote for the ones who have bothered me the least with their interruptive phone calls. Maybe I’ll include all those classy brochures and oversize postcards I receive, too. Might save a couple trees down the road if anyone gets the message.
I also won’t miss some of the hare-brained pronouncements we’ve heard during the past months. Does anyone really believe that, if it’s “legitimate” rape, a woman won’t get pregnant? If so, the question of should her insurance pay for an abortion is beside the point. And we all believe in the tooth fairy, too, don’t we? Anybody who lives in the real world should have noticed, by now, that marriage is defined by the culture itself and demonstrated in its traditions, morals, and history– and that certainly varies throughout the world. I don’t believe that God made those rules, and if he did, whatever happened to the separation of church and state? Just about everybody knows that the reason students get college loans is because their parents don’t have the money to pay those bills, so why would a certain politician recommend that they borrow from their parents? Apparently those wealthy politicians live in a different universe than the rest of us.
And I definitely won’t miss the fact that real news is consistently usurped by yet another of those thinly veiled campaign antics designed to catch the media’s eyes and covered as if it were legitimate news. The local news, which is why I watch local television stations, is pushed into the wings while the various performances of the actors in our political circus get center stage– usually twice every hour. I honestly believe that if the media would ignore these capers, campaigns would get more serious, honest, and less vaudevillian, and stick to trying to convince us that they really care about this country and have some sensible, realistic, achievable plans for making things better. We could cut a great deal of the nonsense out of political campaigns by limiting the money spent by candidates and their supporters to a fraction of the obscene amounts being spent today. Most of what that money buys is garbage and forgotten within a week, when something equally silly takes over the limelight. It saddens me to think of what that money could achieve if applied to some of the persistent problems in our society, instead of being frittered away in the shouting match that passes for politics.
All in all, I’m beginning to think that the best thing to do, when it comes to politics, is to turn off the television, throw all the campaign pamphlets in the trash unread, screen telephone calls through your answering machine, and wait until there are some serious debates between the major candidates before you begin to pay attention. If you’re lucky, the main, serious issues will be discussed in a more or less civilized fashion and you’ll have some idea of which candidate you think will be best for the country for the next four years. If you still can’t see a clear choice– flip a coin.