By Ben Kleppinger
Liars call the shots in America.Liars have always called the shots, and it doesn’t look like that is going to change anytime soon.
Politicians in the United States do not make their living by being honest and straightforward; they make their living by saying what people want to hear and then doing whatever gets them votes.
And please note, this is how they make their living. Politicians have to earn a living just like the rest of us, even if they are not the ideal candidate for the job.
Politicians have to make people believe in them, even if they know people should believe in someone else.
Some people have said this setup is actually a positive, that politicians’ need for votes keeps them paying attention to the public, that politicians will accurately represent their constituents because otherwise they will lose votes and, consequently, their job.
But anyone with half a brain who pays attention to how things go down these days knows that is not how it works.
American voters are hardly informed, and not in any position to know what the best decisions are. Just because the voters want it does not mean it is what the voters need. Case in point: a majority of voters will always support a tax cut. But you can’t always have tax cuts. This means a politician who really accomplishes anything will quite often ignore the voters in favor of an informed decision.
And politicians have several magical antidotes to the “you must represent your voters to keep your votes” venom. The most common is called public relations.
Public relations – the yang to journalism’s ying – is how politicians take absolutely any event and make it look as good or bad as they want to.
The most successful P.R. people know how to take cultural stereotypes and bundle them in single phrases, and sometimes single words that stick with the unintelligent masses and poison their minds with negative or positive connotations. Take Barack “Hussein” Obama for example, or George W. Bush, the “compassionate conservative.”
We all know the stereotypes without even thinking: John Kerry is a flip-flopper, Al Gore is a robot, Bush is a simple-minded drunkard, Hillary is the spawn of Satan and Obama is a terrorist, all thanks to public relations. It doesn’t matter if any of them are true or not, the public believes the stereotypes without any real evidence.
And in the rare moments when a politican commits a crime so heinous even the power of public relations cannot save them, they still have their party’s loyal base to fall back on. Party loyalty is why former Gov. Ernie Fletcher was able to not only consider running for re-election, but also receive a considerable percentage of the votes.
So the ideal idea of politicians earning their votes by doing a good job is totally bogus.
The problem is being able to make politics into a career. When you rely on politics to win you your bread, you instantly become corrupt.
Ideally, politicians should be normal people with regular jobs who decide they want to make a difference for a year, maybe two if it is really necessary. Then our leaders would be motivated by desire to do good, not desire to keep themselves employed.
Of course there are a few problems with this. Our governmental bureaucracy is so grotesquely convoluted and overgrown with rules and fine print that it takes a career commitment just to understand it all. But that doesn’t mean we need career politicians, it means we need to change the current system to be more efficient and understandable.
It is because I don’t like career politicians that I almost like Barack Obama. Obama served eight years in the Illinois senate, and is serving his fourth year in the U.S. Senate. If he becomes president, he will serve at the most eight more years, and then be done with political offices after only 20 years.
Still far too long for my tastes, but compared to other politicians’ careers, it would be short and sweet.
And Obama isn’t from a political royal family like the Clintons or the Bushes. As much as I abhor individuals who make a career of politics, I hate entire families who do so even more. If I wanted ancestral figureheads, I would move to Great Britain.
But Obama has to say what people want to hear and look like people want him to look in order to get votes.
Whether he is sincere or not, his outward appearance of sincerity is nothing more than that: an outward appearance designed to help him win.
Whatever party politicians are affiliated with, whatever their stance is, whatever comes out of their mouth, one thing is guaranteed: they are all liars. It is simply the nature of what has become the job of being a politician. Even if someone honestly wants to do good, they still have to lie in order to get elected.