Getting lost in the fog of political rhetoric

A  US Senator dies.

He arrives as the pearly gates. St. Peter is there and says “Senator, we have a dilemma. After reviewing your life we see that though you have done some immoral things to make it to the top of your profession, you have also helped many people along the way. As such we are going to give you the choice to select whether you would like to spend all of eternity in Heaven or Hell.”

The senator was taken aback  he told St. Peter that of course he would want to be in Heaven. St. Peter said”That may be so, this is what we are going to do. You will spend 24 hours in Hell and then 24 hours in Heaven and after the trial period you can make your final decision.”

So the senator and St. Peter got into an elevator and made their decent into Hell. As the doors opened there was a lush golf course. A devilishly handsome man dressed in Armani met the senator and  gave him a warm welcome. “This may not be too bad after all.” the senator thought to himself. St. Peter reminded him that he would be back in 24 hours and the elevator doors closed.

The next 24 hours were filled of untold pleasures. Exotic foods and women. Golf, fishing, and interesting discussions over brandy and cigars. The senator had a comfortable sleep in a soft feather bed and next thing he knew the 24 hours was over. St.Peter was standing in the elevator door and it was time to go to Heaven.

“If that was Hell , I can’t wait to see what Heaven is like.” The senator thought to himself. When the doors opened to heaven there were angels there. There was a peace and calm, they were happily playing harps and singing . Before long the 24 hours was over and it was time for the senator to make his final decision.

St. Peter met the senator in the morning and asked “And so, what is your decision?Remember you cannot change your mind.” I never thought I would say this declared the senator “Heaven was nice yet it was kind of boring compared to Hell. I think I would rather spend time there.” Very well was  St. Peter’s monotone answer and they made their way back to the elevator.

This time when the doors opened the smell of hot sulfur blasted into the elevator. A confused senator stepped out to hear the screams of tortured souls. The Devil came to greet him as shackles appeared on the senator’s ankles and wrists. “What happened?!” the senator exclaimed. “Ah senator” the Devil replied with a sparkle in his eye “Yesterday we were campaigning, today you voted for us.”

That political joke is quite telling and not quite off from the way things actually work. Voters today need to be smarter, more discerning about the information they hear in political campaigns this election cycle. Much like the Wizard of Oz there is a lot of smoke and mirror technique put in political speeches. What you will find is the talk of universal ideals and no substance or actual action items presented to define real leadership.

For example, speeches will promote ideals which Americans hold sacred namely Freedom, Independence, Opportunity, Prosperity, and Peace. These ideals are brought into the speech because they are things that all Americans can agree on. Then there will be a story to support these ideals. However, it says nothing about how the candidate will tackle the difficult issues we face today. Nothing about how to pay down the debt in a meaningful way, nothing about easing the worry of the consumer to recharge our consumption based economy, nothing about taking away established “perks” from the dinosaurs of industry to give to develop innovative sustainable technologies. Just slogans and fog.

Voters need to ask hard questions and get concrete real world answers.

Politics today is reminiscent of pre-school children. Throwing temper tantrums when they don’t get their way. Claiming the entire sandbox to be “Mine!”. Calling the opposition foolish names and saying “I want that, I want this.” without rationalizing the cost. They can want all they want but if it doesn’t make fiscal sense than it’s not going to happen. Made up, unrealistic numbers can be thrown out in a speech, however if they have no basis in reality they are worthless to the American public.

It is important that no matter how a person votes that they are well informed. That voters realize who will best represent their interests and that they do not get lost in the fog of rhetoric that has become prevalent in modern politics.


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