Practical Dad

Politics and Cynicism

As a father, I'm supposed to be respectful of our institutions and try to teach the theory of why things are the way that they are.  Yet I still try to raise the kids to be skeptical and not believe everything that they hear and there are times when it's damned near impossible to find the balance.  The last two weeks of this 2012 presidential campaign are an example of those times.

There's obviously a great deal riding on the outcome and I agree that this is an election with a meaning.  The country is in need of true change beyond what is typically seen in a change of political parties, even when there was a real difference between them.  The debt situation - personal, student, governmental - cannot continue and the powers that be have to learn that you can't solve what is fundamentally a solvency issue by issuing still more debt.  The social contracts amongst our citizenry have to be fundamentally rewritten.  What do we owe our elderly and what fair claim do they have upon the national resources?  What do we owe our young people so that they have a real chance to pursue happiness, unencumbered by debt?  What must we do to truly rebuild our educational system so that it meets the needs of the individual and society?  One of the exercises in Middle's Honors Civics class was a web-based internet exercise in which the students had to balance the federal budget.  His response one evening was that we're screwed because if you make the cuts, people hate you and if you don't, the debt blows up.  It was an eye-opening experience for him. 

There have been conversations with Middle and Youngest - Eldest is away at college - about the system and the election.  Middle's Civics teacher has done a good job of exposing them to current issues as well as the traditional aspects.  One evening's conversation was about campaign finance and I was surprised that he knew about SuperPACs and the issue of soft money spending on advertising.  On a truly family level perspective, the spate of last minute get out the vote calls has been unprecedented, to the point that I've actually disconnected the telephone and one person to whom I spoke today noted on her Facebook page that any friends who wished to contact her would have to do so by cellphone over the weekend.  Much of this is funded by soft money.  The calls have been so annoying that I've actually taken the time of pollsters and proceeded to lie through my teeth so as to get a little revenge for this nonsense and I've admitted such to the kids. 

The other aspects that have come up persistently here relate to the parties and the candidates, particularly that there are no true differences between them.  Despite all of the talk about policies, they might as well combine them and name the resulting creature Rombama.  Despite the taped endorsement from Colin Powell in which he states that the financial system has stabilized and recovered, the reality is that the financial system has become a cause of the zombification of the remainder of the real economy and a principal contributor to the monetary policies that grotesquely pull demand forward and penalize savers.  If our forefathers could see what our leaders are permitting, they'd literally stick a foot up their collective ass.  While the system was truly at the point of collapse in 2008, Obama should have made true reformation of the financial system the first priority instead of pursuing Obamacare; he instead proved to be a tool of the financial leaders.  His candidate counterpart simply lost me with his comment that corporations are people, too.  He can talk as much as he wants about cutting taxes and balancing the budget but he has to be substantive as to how he'll handle spending.  If a teenager can take a computer exercise and see how totally screwed up things are, then I'm not hopeful at the soundbite hoopla.

That simple comment is the crux of the problem facing our country today, the rise of the corporations and their power in the face of the individual.  I'm not raising my children to be consumers and that is precisely what the system's leaders want.

Tomorrow, I'll do my duty and vote and because the elementary schools are closed to serve as polling places, I'll take Youngest along with me.  He can hold my nose for me.

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