John Wayne is the Duke. Elvis is the King.

John Wayne's Holster: November 2007
John Wayne's Holster
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Friday, November 30, 2007

America For Sale!



Over the past few weeks, I have been watching the presidential candidates of both major parties debating to win their respective party's nomination. Although I am registered as an Independent, I have a strong tendancy to lean towards those espousing conservative view points. As I do not wish to be equivocal, I am obliged to state that I hold no allegiance to those claiming to be Republicans. That is, I hold no objections to casting my ballot for any worthy Democrat.

I must say that the debates make me queasy. With the possible exceptions of Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich (both of whom I respect, but do not support), none of the candidates possess the mettle to stand on principle. Candidates on both parties have their fingers up in the air - testing the direction in which the winds are blowing. Their positions on just about every issue ebb and flow with the political tide. The phrase, "I voted for it before I voted against it" is no longer the franchise of John Kerry. Sadly, it has become a cliché applicable to most politicians.

In addition to the vacillations of the candidates, the debates are lacking in substance. Many of the questions posed by the moderators are soft-balls. On those occasions when probing questions are actually asked, the candidates give nebulous and inchoate answers. Their answers are carefully crafted in such a way as to avoid defining themselves on any particular issue, while at the same time they subtly pollinate their replies with code words and dialectic phrases intelligible only to voters espousing one political philosophy or the other - but not both. In this way, the candidates make pretense of supporting each voter's position on any given issue (i.e. they talk out of both sides of their mouth).

While this sly tactic may be easily digested by the average voter who only hears what s/he wants to hear, political aficionados are not so easily fooled. One would expect - or at least hope - that the debate moderators were of this latter class. If that is the case, one would expect them to challenge the candidates to step out of the shadows and unveil themselves, but this is rarely done with any enthusiasm.

The debates are also being heavily influenced by the political agendas of the sponsoring networks. Last week's Republican debate sponsored by CNN and YouTube makes this case quite nicely. The advertised purpose of the debate was to give Republican voters a chance to cull the candidates vying for their party's nomination. Depite this, CNN compromised the debate by putting forth questions posed by several supporters of Democratic candidates. One such supporter is Keith Kerr, who is currently serving on a steering committee for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The current front runners in the debates, despite what they say, do not offer any hope of real change. On the Democratic side, most of the talking heads are of the opinion that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. Clinton has the name recogniton, the money, and the supporting political machine to win the nomination. On the Republican side, no candidate has of yet been dubbed, but the leading contenders are Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney. Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee also has an outside chance. Among these candidates, none offers any real hope of change. Although they all promise a new direction in Washington, in reality they are all more likely to stay the course.

Certainly there are some differences. In general, the GOP candidate is likely to be more hawkish in regard to the Middle East. The Democratic candidate will likely lean more to a socialist policy in regards to issues like health care and social security. Those things aside, their is not really any hope for positive change inside the beltway because our elected officials are not faithfully representing the will of the people.

On the contrary, our representatives have prostituted themselves to the corporate agenda. They have laid their wreaths and burned their incense at the altars of tax loopholes, cheap exploitable foreign labor, economic imperialisms, international trade agreements, corporate bail-outs, and money leveraging. These issues are all sugar-coated and forced down our throats under the guise of patriotism.

I am about to give up all hope and faith in "our" country. Actually, upon reflection, I am quite suprised that I have held onto whatever vestiges of national confidence that I have blindly and desparately clung to up to the present.

It seems that virtues such as statesmanship and patriotism have become antiquated and oldfangled ideals.