I hate elections, particularly presidential elections. I hate the ads, the debates, the analysis and the endless barrage of information. What I most particularly hate is that there are only two platforms for candidates to be electable from, and the candidates that are playing for my vote have more dissimilarities to me and to many similarities to one another.
Electing a president is not about electing someone who is smart enough, strong enough, capable enough and honest enough to be entrusted with the highest office in America. Sure, we'd like to think that it is. But its not. Its a contest over how many people each candidate can convince that he is more likeable than the other guy. I was watching Morning Joe's interview with Steve Schmidt, Mcain/Palin campain chief strategist. The interview itself outlined some particularly intelligent opinions about why we choose certain people to run for office, but it was a segment header that followed that made me cringe and begin typing this post.
"Coming up next: Candidate Y says he's starting to use the phrase y'all and that he loves Grits. Candidate Z says he loves grits even more than Candidate Y." (paraphrased)
The ridiculousness of it -- down to the fact that news outlets are actually reporting this as news, should be a huge DOINK on the collective consciousness of us all. Sadly, only those who actually agree with this assessment understand the importance of it, and those who don't understand it will most likely disagree with me.
Politics today are a caricature.
Races are determined by which candidate is a better liar. They lie to make themselves more attractive to us, to convince us that they are LIKE us. Mostly, they are not. Candidates at the highest levels have as much in common to me as an individual as I have to a spineless mollusk. But the most important job they will undertake while on the campaign trail is not to convince me that they are capable, not to convince me that they are trustworthy, not to convince me that they are intelligent. Their job is only to convince me that I like them.
Ever since Gallup ran its first presidential poll in the 1960's, we've learned that of the three main characteristics that determine who will win an election (political party, stance on the issues, likeability), LIKEABILITY is the most important.
And here's the problem: I don't. Like them.
Not a single damn one of 'em.