Tuesday morning kicked off with local politics, Floyd County Supervisors style, and the evening closed with the President of the United States appearing to be back in campaign mode in his State of the Union address.
Journalists are a cynical bunch and I rank right up there in the ionosphere of cynicism, especially when it comes to national politics and the posturing of candidates of elected officials. I will head off shortly for breakfast with friends and the talk, of course, will be what the President did nor did not say in his last State of the Union.
With the first Presidential primaries closing in, the Republican chaos is the worst I have seen in more than a half century of reporting on politics. The idea that a psychological misfit like Donald Trump is the leader of GOP polls for the Presidential nomination is madness at it highest level but not really that surprising given the depths the Republican party has plunged to appeal to the depths of ignorance, fear, bigotry and hate in America.
Sen, Marco Rubio, one of the large crowd of Presidential wannabes ays “this doesn’t look like my country anymore. I don’t recognize America.”
Sadly, the country we see today doesn’t look like America. Even sadder is the reality that, yes, it is America.
As a candidate for President in 2008, another Senator promised to bring America back to its roots. Barack Obama was all about hope and unity. His last State of the Union Tuesday night recognized that America is far from united and hope is lost among looking for someone to blame for their own hopelessness and failure.
Obama failed on his promises. All Presidential candidates do. I worked for Ronald Reagan in the 1984 re-election campaign because I wanted to be part of the process but I have to admit that I didn’t support Reagan or even vote for him. I didn’t vote that year. In fact, I didn’t vote during the years that I worked for candidates or the Republican Party.
I worked for them for the money and the experience — nothing more.
During that period, I did work for two men who, I thought, tried the hardest to represent their constituents: Congressman Manual Lujan of New Mexico in 1982 and successful Congressional candidate Amory Houghton, the retired CEO of Corning, in 1987. I might have voted for each of them, but I didn’t live in their districts.
As a reporter and a news photographer, I was the right man for the job when it came to politics. I was, and still am, a political agnostic. I don’t believe in anyone or anything political. Politics, in my opinion, is a bastard operation where the so-called “pros” do it for the money and the candidates do it for ego and glory.
Public service is low on the list — if it exists at all — for most candidates and elected officials.
Some come into politics thinking they are going to have an effect or, God forbid, change the world. They leave either corrupt or disillusioned or both.
I vote nowadays in local elections because they have the most effect on our lives and are, at least, people we either know or will meet. My profession has given me a chance to meet many members of Congress and several Presidents and that opportunity only deepens my cynicism and lack of respect for those who claim to be representatives of the people. Thankfully, we have local elected officials — like newly-elected Sheriff Brian Craig, new Circuit Clerk Rhonda Vaughn, re-elected Treasurer Missy Keith and others who put service to others ahead of political ambitions. Sadly, we also have some political animals in our midst.
In the past, I have been a cynic about our political system but still an optimist about America, a nation that I thought could survive anything.
Not any more.
Does this mean I’m giving up.
It just means I’m less of an optimist about America and the future and I even more of an unabashed and unrepentant cynic. 🙂
(Edited after original posting)