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and the mud begins to fly
an election must be at hand
by robert a. melos
9.29.06
pop culture


Linda Stender is a spender.
Mike Ferguson wants to make abortion a crime.

Both candidates are running for a seat in the New Jersey 7th Congressional District. I learned the above statement on Linda Stender from a commercial paid for by the friends of Mike Ferguson, and the statement about Mike Ferguson from the Linda Stender web site. Personally I don’t want to vote for either of them. If this is how we’re going to continue on in politics, slinging mud and accusations at each other instead of actually talking about the individual candidate’s personal stance on government spending or abortion, just two of the issues other than war and terrorism that affect the everyday lives of people on a local level, what’s the use of campaigning?

I’m already tired of the new election season. I want them to all pack up and go home. I don’t want to see the mud slung, or fingers pointed, because these actions make me care less about the issues. The actions of our politicians on a local level have already dulled me to giving a damn about anyone being in office. I am at saturation levels, and there are still several weeks until the elections.

All the politicians are succeeding in doing is turning off the voters to the point of not caring who is in office because we expect the same thing, nothing, from either candidate. Our leaders are letting us down before they take office. Is this the future of politics and the world, a constant feeling of being let down and disappointed in everyone who slings mud in order to get into office?

Did our forefathers envision this in 1776 when they fought for the freedom we so obviously today take for granted? I can’t even begin to guess what went on in George Washington’s mind, or Thomas Jefferson’s. Ben Franklin is easy to guess at, given his love of beer and ladies of questionable virtue. Now he’s the kind of politician we need today.

Okay, you might argue we had that with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, one a womanizer and the other a former cocaine addict and alcoholic, but both of those have failed the American people. Besides, they aren’t local politicians and are both lame ducks.

Some might ask why, if I seem to care so much about the political system and virtues of politicians and the betterment of man, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah, I don’t run for office?

I never would run for political office just because I don’t have the interest outside of myself to care enough about issues that don’t catch my interest. I also figure it would hurt my potential porn career to be tied to a political office. Who wants to watch a porn star they once voted against in a congressional election?

No. Political aspiration is not for me, but the aspiration to have politicians who do more than sling mud and point fingers of blame at their opponents is not only a desire but a right for all the American people. It’s about time we all stand up to the Linda Stenders and Mike Fergusons throughout the country and tell them no. We have to tell these people to take a real stand if they want to be in office, and force them to take responsibility for their actions.

In the Stender v. Ferguson race I really have no idea what the issues are, meaning I learned nothing for the commercials of either candidate. I know, according to Mike Ferguson, Linda Stender voted to spend a lot and tax a lot while she was in office. I know from Linda Stender’s campaign that Mike Ferguson is anti-abortion. The issue of abortion in New Jersey is not in question, and taxes are always on the ballots. What will either of these people do for me personally?

Now I’m not asking for them to personally pay my mortgage or give me a vacation home in Vegas, baby, although both would be much appreciated and earn my undying vote. Yeah, I can be bought, but I ain’t cheap. Of course politicians would never consider buying votes, would they?

No matter, the political season is getting into full swing, and we the innocent voters are, much like the civilians in Iraq, caught in the political mud slinging crossfire. I suggest flak jackets, maybe a large bottle of Wisk, and then gear up for the 2008 Presidential election in two years.


ABOUT ROBERT A. MELOS

Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos

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COMMENTS

robert melos
9.29.06 @ 12:53a

Clinton let us down in a different way then Bush. Clinton made us face the reality that marriage and fidelity are not written in stone, and anyone can cheat. While many other Presidents have cheated on their wives, none did it so publicly. Even Kennedy kept rumors from ruining his presidency.

Bush let us down by deliberately leading us into war, by using the legal system to manipulate his way into power.

I respect Clinton more since he face the problems of his administration, of White Water, and Lewinsky, and still faces the criticism of people who believe lies and corruption are the only way to run a country.

Bush spent the last election slinging mud at John Kerry, lying to the public and rewriting history to make himself look good.

I accept the mistakes of the past, of each administration, but am tired of politicians who start off the politicking process with flinging mud. I really just want one politician to come out and tell us what he or she really stands for, and then not waiver on that stance depending on who is listening to the speech. An honest politician is an oxymoron, and as mythical as the elusive pink unicorn.

stacy smith
9.29.06 @ 7:30a

YAY! For once somebody else has said that they've had enough.

I've been saying the same things for over a year now and end up being told that "You're just being lazy and don't care!"

No, it isn't that I don't care. I'm just tired of all the nonsense and garbage that goes on. If somebody is going to make claims to fix something, then fix it!

Clinton... *rolls eyes* Now there is a smart man.

Let's claim to balance the budget by kicking more than half of the military out, then write a whole shitload of IOU's to social security. Who cares if the future elderly live off of catfood...

sandra thompson
9.29.06 @ 8:23a

I'm not sure when the mudslinging started, but it can easily be traced all the way back to Andrew Jackson's opponents and their mud about his wife. Since the 1820's it's been a fixture of campaigns. We think it's worse now because there are more and better outlets for it, but it's been there all these years. I don't like it either, and I wish it would stop, but, face it, if it didn't work at least to some extent nobody would do it, now would they? Look what the Swift Boat liars wrought? We've got a gubernatorial candidate down here in Florida accusing his opponent of being a LIBERAL! Great gawd amighty, what could possibly be worse than that? A liar? A child molester? A war cinimal? Being Karl Rove? If the campaign mud causes a person to care less about the issues, then that person doesn't care enough about the issues to begin with. The issues are still the issues. If you don't like a candidate's campaign tactics, then don't vote for him/her, but don't let that affect your caring about the real issues. I hold my nose at least once every election, it seems, and vote for the lesser of the evils, because if I don't the worse of the evils will get elected probably, and then how will I feel? To quote Bill Clinton: "At least I tried."

mike julianelle
9.29.06 @ 9:55a

"The GOP support torture..."

It's nothing but naive to pretend that torture hasn't happened and doesn't happen when Dems are in power. They just haven't been as brazen and arrogant in shoving it in our faces, and daring us to object, as the current admin has.

dan gonzalez
9.29.06 @ 9:59a

It's all bullshit and partisans are to blame. I'll try to vote for independents and candidates who won't raise taxes. The more taxes, the deeper it gets, the less self-governance we have, the worse the future will have it.

[edited]

dan gonzalez
9.29.06 @ 1:50p

Don't be sorry to me. I'm sorry that the media mindgame has blinded so many people. It's medicare, not Bush, that is the biggest problem and it's been 40 years in the making and will be insolvent in 2014.

As for trillions and trillions, $57 Trillion is the biggest portion of the debt, and it also has nothing to do with Bush. We call it Social Security, which we've raised taxes on and diminished returns on a total of 23 times in 70 years without fixing it. Hardly a 'sin of this administration'.

Tax raises will only make things worse, because they will always be used to expand governance and never redress problems, and only people who have a religious faith in the sanctity of such programs advocate the terminal state of financial life support that they require.

[edited]

erik myers
9.29.06 @ 3:23p

Uhh.. the national debt is $8.5 trillion.

It rises by about $1.5 billion per day.

Which is, interestingly, a little less than what we spend in Iraq every day.

Not that they're really actually related, but it's interesting, isn't it?

Your assertion that Social Security and/or Medicare is the source of our national debt is simplistic and generalized.

robert melos
9.30.06 @ 12:13a

All I'm asking here is why can't the politicians just removed their masks and instead of taking the easiest way simply stand up and say "I'm for women's rights," or "I'm going to cut spending"? Why can't politicians show some backbone?

The mud slinging has been going on for hundreds of years, but that doesn't mean it can't change. Or maybe it does? Maybe we have to accept the fact our politicians can't or won't risk respecting the people they are planning to serve? Maybe pandering to the mindset of National Enquirer tactics is the way of the world and the way things are supposed to go? I suppose taking a stand and being honest are just not things politicians can handle within themselves. It doesn't help to be disappointed in politicians, because being disappointed in them won't change them. They aren't phased by those who are disappointed in them, and it is naïve to think they care.

The eventual outcome is revolution. Anarchy. Restructuring. A brave new world. We're only in the beginning stages.

stacy smith
9.30.06 @ 10:57a

So what your saying Robert is that Bush should continue to pander to the oil companies and his other corporate interests because that's what everybody has come to expect of him?

Or how about the fact the China has stated that they want the United States blown off the face of the planet, but yet, Bush has given them favorite trade status. What good comes from that? If it's only for imports, the majority of stuff that comes from China is crap!

I suppose taking a stand and being honest are just not things politicians can handle within themselves.

Well then maybe the public should up their standards instead of flipping a coin to figure out who is the lesser of two evils when it comes time to vote. Ideally the scumbags that take up way too much oxygen in the world of politics shouldn't even be there in the first place, but that too would mean that everybody would have to get their heads out of their asses and do something about it.

Garbage in, garbage out!

Continue to vote in people like Clinton, and you'll get wool pulled over your eyes and lead to believe that everything is A-Okay.

Vote in people like Bush, and you'll end up with a goverment that doubles in size, crooked business tactics, and smothered with new laws that everybody spends time finding loop holes for.

lisa r
9.30.06 @ 6:44p

My favorite bumper sticker of all time: "Politicians are like diapers. They should be changed often and for the same reason."



robert melos
9.30.06 @ 11:29p

Stacey, in my opinion Bush shouldn't be in office for a variety of reasons. Sadly, Clinton lied and nobody died, but he did lie. I don't remember his campaign, if he slung much mud? Actually, I don't remember much mud being slung until the 2004 campaigns. Sure there was always mud flying, but not to the level I remember in '04. I was hoping not to see more mud flying again. The fact that it isn't just on national levels, but on local levels as well shows the small town politicians take their cues from the national politicians, and that cue is to forget about real issues and concentrate on trashing your competition.

I guess no one will be getting Miss Congeniality again this year?

tracey kelley
10.2.06 @ 9:46a

"Clinton lied and nobody died."

That's not exactly true. We just were't in a "war" during his administration, but there were plenty of conflicts. Oklahoma City. Waco. Bosnia and Croatia. The U.S.S. Cole.

To name a few.

Also, the first bombing of the World Trade center, which was, most definitely, a test run.

Let's not get myopic here and say that Democratic presidents don't need a military and only administer during peace time.

Bush's biggest problem is that he's a puppet, with Cheney's hand stuck as far up his behind as it will go. When you look at the people that were part of 41's administration that pretty much walzed back into power on Jan., 2001, it's easy to see what's going on.

I fucking hate labels. "Liberal" or "Conservative," "Democrat"or "Republican." If per chance enough of the issues do happen to rise to the surface, you vote for who rallies the torch for what you believe in. I guarentee, no one has strictly one viewpoint on every single thing.

People who vote straight ticket are stupid, stupid, stupid. I've been a registered independent since I first started voting, but I have to change my voter's registration card three, four times during an election year, because if I happen to vote X or Y one time during a primary, it automatically places me in that designation. I have no idea why they would waste their time and our tax money switching me over each time except for one thing:

Marketing.

Because right after that, I get a slew of one-party only mailers, surveys and all that shit. Why? Because the general populace is too stupid and lazy to think for themselves and our states enable that process.

So the first thing we should fix is to allow all registered independents to remain as such, regardless of primary voting. Then maybe the Dems and Reps would realize it's not as cut and dried partisian as they'd like to think.

Partisianship accomplishes nothing. It never will. Which is why there needs to be strong third party support. So vote for every independent candidate you can, even if they don't have a shot in hell of winning, beause it sends a message: oh, we'll vote, just not for the morons you keep pushing in front of us with this Dem/Rep bullshit.

People laughed at Ross Perot, mainly because he was out of his freakin' mind, but he sure made the '92 election interesting.

And yes, I voted for him.

tim lockwood
10.3.06 @ 2:08a

(sigh)

I miss Mr. Perot, too. He was definitely a bedbug, that's for sure - but he was a smart bedbug for all that, and in hindsight, certainly couldn't have done any worse. I voted for him, too; he was no one's monkey-boy puppet.

And to follow Tracey's line of thinking, the reason we don't get the President (or mayor, or congressperson, or etc.) we want, is because candidates no longer campaign to the people, exactly - they are marketed at the people.

Candidates are chosen by how well they test in focus groups. Anyone who can speak in broad enough generalizations which will appeal to a wide enough demographic (a little over 50% of the voting population is ideal) is a likelier candidate than someone who has "rough edges" like a Perot or an Alan Keyes or a Ralph Nader.

This is a process similar to what toy manufacturers do in the months leading up to Christmas; and we are no different from our children when we express our dissatisfaction with the President we've gotten. The difference is, with a toy you don't like, you can stash it in a closet and pretend you've never seen it.

You would think that, with all the studying and deep analysis, the marketeers would figure out how to give us what we really want. But of course, that's not their job; their job is to sell the product, and make us think we are getting what we want. After the sale, who cares? They're not running a toy company that depends on repeat business, they're just hired guns brought on board to sell the candidate who tests well.

And of course, the media helps along this illusion of a "two-party system" by telling us that we have only two choices, A or B. So-called "third-party" candidates have a hard time getting talked about - not because the media is evil, but because they are lazy sheep. Heaven forfend that they should have to cover the opinions of more than two candidates. It sounds too much like work, and the editor might get mad if they have to delay a story that "everyone else" is leading with. Thus they become tools of the marketeers who have a product to sell, and want as little marketplace competition as possible.

robert melos
10.3.06 @ 4:15a

Lately it seems politics is more of a money issue. He with the biggest war chest wins. Very disappointing, yet very true. Sad.

Voting blocks do make a big difference. In another local election, Edison NJ, the first local Asian-American mayor was voted into office. Not coincidentally, Edison has one of the largest Asian-American populations in the area. He ran on some issues, but mostly played up the fact he was Asian-American. It was much like watching the racist Survivor mentioned in Joe's column being played out in real life. Although he did spend more than any other local politician, according to records.

dan gonzalez
10.3.06 @ 12:00p

Sad

Paine said that society represented the best of us, and government the worst. Society, our ability to peacefully co-exist and benignly inter-relate, was born of our virtues. But government was born of our vices, a need to punish our failures and control our short-comings, so nothing truly positive could ever come of it.

He was right.

robert melos
10.4.06 @ 12:35a

Given the current world situation, I question society being the best of us. Actually, I see government being born out of society's need to give up responsibility for one's actions. Its easier to place blame on government lack of spending where schools are concerned than to take responsibility for failing your child in the education department. Its easier to blame government for the inability to protect us from terrorists then it is to look back and realize we had signs and warnings and ignored them.

Without a governing body we would have to take responsibility for our actions.

stacy smith
10.4.06 @ 4:32p

Robert, what you speak is simply a symptom of yet another problem.

My son is in public school this year. Some of the things he tells me is beyond absurd. i.e- 9/11 kept being called Patriot Day. WTF is that? Did the teachers just pull that out of their butts or is it once again the federal goverment spoon feeding garbage into the school system with the left hand, while threatening the schools to cut their budget if they don't teach what they are being told to with the right?

The federal goverment should have never been allowed to stick its large, brown nose in schools in the first place whether it be public or private as when that happens, it's no longer about education. It's about putting crap into students heads and making sure the schools teach it.

Not to toot my own horn, but for all these little things crooked details my son tells me about, his father and I sit him down and tell him the real story. We don't play along with the fictional crap that the school spent 6 hours trying to deeply engrave in my son's little brain.

All parents should be talking to their kids, but it's more important to work 80 hours a week because those said parents are too busy trying to live far beyond their means to keep up with their neighbors next door that have the 5,000 sq foot house, 2 SUV's in the driveway, ect...

Is the goverment to blame? Yes, but so are parents for not taking the time to "fix" what the goverment/ schools are doing.

It's easier and less painful to turn a blind eye to it. If they don't see it, it never happened.

Kind of like WW II. At one point there was entire chapters dedicated to it in history books. What is it reduced down to now? A page or two? Goverment didn't like the image it portrayed, so they simply deleted the parts they didn't like.

I guess they are taking the lead from Japan and other countries that have gag orders on topics that don't like to talk about.

Now that makes for a well rounded education! Just as bears don't shit in the woods and frogs don't bump their butts.



[edited]

robert melos
10.5.06 @ 12:42a

Stacey, on at least two calendars I have in the house, all those lovely freebie ones that get sent to me with requests for donations, Sept. 11th is listed as Patriot's Day. I guess they couldn't call it World Trade Center day because of the other two locations involved. It's like Pearl Harbor Day, except in the future I expect to see Patriot's Day Sales.

robert melos
10.17.06 @ 4:52a

Update: Tonight I saw a commercial for Senator Bob Menendez, meaning he approved the commercial. It starts out by telling you his opponent, Tom Kean Jr.,is running a smear campaign. The commercial then goes on to smear Kean. I'm impressed by audacity of Menendez to not only sling mud, but point out the candidate he is slinging mud at is slinging mud back. It's almost funny, in a sad way, to see our political system is nothing more than playground politics. He who pushes hardest, yells loudest, accuses and lies the best is the winner.

Good thing I don't have high ideals.



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