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PoliTICKS Me Off
I do not like politics. I make no bones about that. It is far too evident that it is more of a game than a service. I also have a great disdain for politicians who attain office and proceed to enjoy the perks, privileges and premiums of their positions, while conveniently forgetting who put them there and why. I do not respect the continued pissing contests between Democrats & Republicans. The apparent need to immediately disparage any idea, bill or proposition that did not come from "their side of the aisle" is juvenile at best. Finally, I do not choose to align myself with a party or label myself with any political identifier. I like to think that I am a much broader thinker than that, that good ideas can come from anywhere and that declaring a formal affiliation would only result in a lot more garbage in my mailbox.
What I am and what I believe is far more basic. I am an American citizen and I simply believe in right and wrong, good and bad, honor and disgrace, effort and malaise.
Part of my political disdain has meant that I go out of my way to avoid CSPAN, editorial pages and party propaganda. It also means that during most State of the Union speeches, I have been one of the people who frantically search out a cable station not broadcasting the address. I would much rather watch the movie version of Dumb & Dumber on TNT than the real life version on NBC.
This year I made an exception. With the poor economy, strife and potential peril of war a daily reality, I wanted to see what President Bush was prepared to set forth. So I sat and I watched and I felt both proud and pissed off.
Proud of a man who truly feels the weight of his office. No matter what your political opinion of the Bush administration, George W has the courage of his convictions and is unafraid to be politically incorrect and boldly state his faith. I firmly believe this is a decent man who wants to do what is morally and ethically right, not what is politically acceptable. To all the naysayers and armchair Presidents out there? Remember, it is rather easy to espouse your agendas, ideas and cure-alls from the comfort of your Barca-loungers. To find only fault while enjoying the freedom to openly find fault. Walk a mile in those shoes and your "take" would be much different. I cannot even begin to imagine the burden of knowledge found inside the Oval Office.
One only needs to look into the face of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge to understand the price one pays for "knowing". Six months ago he looked the picture of a hale, hearty, athletic hero. Last night he looked like a candidate for Botox, Unisom and Grecian Formula. I am quite certain I sleep better not knowing what he now knows.
So I was proud of George Bush. What angered me was watching the ridiculous reactions of the assembled and the endless interruptions of applause and standing ovations. Seventy-seven breaks for applause. SEVENTY-SEVEN. Let the man speak already! The millions of viewers at home are not clapping, they are waiting to hear the speech. We do not need visual clues that "this was an important sentence". It is a laughable distraction that needs removed. Institute a new rule at the beginning, "Please hold your applause till the end of the speech." Although I suppose that would upset the team of speech makers who craft these intended breaks and interruptions and probably place bets in Vegas on how many times the throng will actually stand and clap.
And what about all those standing O’s? Even we Catholics, who are used to the endless yo-yo-ing found in every Mass, were feeling sorry for Teddy Kennedy’s overburdened joints! Enough already.
But what truly pissed me off and further cements my dislike of politicians were the dramatic moments when one side of the crowd would stand and the other, opposing side of the aisle would remain seated in a show of open defiance, disrespect and disgruntlement. To all of the politicos who clenched their seat cushions with their buttcheeks and who openly laughed at portions of the speech? Your constituents were not impressed. That is precisely the kind of adolescent "so thereing" that demeans your office and tarnishes your image. Grow up.
I believe there should be checks and balances. That spirited debates should take place over important issues. That the Constitution was written so that our country is not ever run by a Saddam or Ayatollah. But I also believe that as long as the people in power continue to act like children, throw stones, call names and summarily dismiss ideas from the opposing party, politics will remain what it has degenerated into : A taxpayer financed pissing contest.