Musings on the recent election
No matter whose side you were on, I’m sure we are all relieved that it is finally over. Thank goodness the endless parade of television commercials and canned telephone messages has ended, and we can get back to our normal lives. However there are a few items which continue to leave a bad taste in the mouth. They include the almost universally distorted messages from the unregulated 527 groups which flooded television time, and the shameless way in which both campaigns treated taxes as a dirty word to be avoided except to say, “We’re against them.”Both candidates made a big show of decrying the commercials put on by the 527 groups, and said they had nothing to do with them. Nevertheless they refused to have them taken off the air, because deep down inside, they hoped they would in some way help their cause by defaming their opponent. I cite one example, only because it is so obviously ridiculous – the one claiming that if John Kerry were elected president, he would ban the Bible. How preposterous! Both sides are equally guilty of this kind of slander.The disturbing thing about these efforts is the contempt which those who dream up this kind of crap must have for the intelligence of the American people. An even sadder thought is that this tactic may actually be effective. You would think that an informed electorate would have such a revulsion for these scurrilous commercials that they would result in a backlash against the candidate they are intended to promote – but the strategists who create them must believe that they influence more prospective voters than they alienate.What is needed between now and the next election is legislation to outlaw this kind of end run around a reasoned discourse on the real qualifications and programs of the candidates. With the privilege of free speech goes a certain responsibility to speak the truth instead of deluging the public with messages whose sole purpose is to smear the opponent. If a political campaign resorts to such underhanded tactics, it should be a clue to the modus operandi you can expect if that campaign succeeds.To the best of my knowledge, I cannot remember a single candidate who stood on the moral principle that the government should, just like the rest of us, pay its bills, rather than running up a huge debt and passing the bill on to our children and grandchildren. If we are not willing to pay for the cost of government services we all take for granted, we don’t deserve them. That goes for such things as highways, education, public health, law enforcement and our judicial system, and national defense. And certainly it should also include the cost of fighting a war, which if we had to pay for it probably wouldn’t be all that popular.To pass these costs on to future generations just because we don’t have the stomach to pay the bills we are running up, is not only unconscionable, but for future generations it amounts to nothing less than taxation without representation, because they will have had no say in the tax burden that we are in the process of dumping on them.”Tax and spend” is a great slogan to pin on your political opponents, but at least it indicates a certain willingness to pay their bills. What does a policy of “borrow and spend” indicate?Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.
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