This is the chorus from a country song that is so grounded in common sense that you wonder why more people don’t get it. I thought about the song as I was listening to a group of radio political pundits debate whether the Republican Party needed a makeover to re-establish its’ clout. Ironically, most of the debate was about style over substance and if the party should move more to the center or more to the right.
As I listened to their babbling I couldn’t help but think that political parties are supposed to represent an ideology that is based on a system of values. So if that is true – how much room do they really have to move before they begin to compromise their beliefs?
It seems that politics today is more about winning the election than it is about a commitment to principles and values. Ideally, candidates in a political contest would debate clearly articulated points of differentiation providing the voters a choice between approaches to problem solving and philosophies of governing.
However, the political strategists of the day seem content with and adept at blurring those lines. Combine that with a little help from the media and often you don’t know who you are really electing until the election is over and the candidate is in office. This by the way is not a shot at any single elected official but rather a comment on the sad state of our political system. Both parties are guilty!
Back to our pundits – they talked about strategies to recruit younger, better looking, more energetic candidates. They suggested a need for candidates who had a better TV presence and were more gifted speakers. One of the esteemed panel even went as far as to say that the content of the message doesn’t matter as much as how it is delivered.
I am not sure what horrifies me more; the fact that this might be true or that we have become a nation of media junkies. It seems we are no longer capable of telling the difference between a commercial and the program.
What I never heard discussed by the panel was the importance of leadership, experience, a record of performance and a well defined ideology by which the candidate would govern. Aren’t these the characteristics that you would want to understand about a candidate that you were considering voting for?
However, this is the real rub. The candidates aren’t the only ones that have to stand for something. As voters, our responsibilities are the same as the candidate’s. We need to invest enough time in the process that we have well thought out and defined positions on the issues. We also have a responsibility to understand, at least conceptually how the candidate will solve a problem or address an issue.
Unfortunately, far too many of us don’t make the time to study the issues instead we get our news in sound bites. We vote for what sounds “good” without ever knowing if it is good. In the end the only ones that can hold the candidates accountable are the voters. This accountability should start on the campaign trail not once they are in office. There should be no surprises once elected. If we understand the issues and set expectations of our elected officials we won’t have to worry about “falling for anything.”
So in the end the pundits got it all wrong! It is not about if the Republicans should move right, center or left. It is not about if they should be more moderate or more conservative. It is about both parties deciding what they stand for and sticking to it. Both parties need to use the election process to honestly sell their views and let the voters decide.
If you lose, you try again next time but you don’t sell out your principles to get in office and then rediscover them once elected. That is corrupt and corruption will destroy trust in the government. When the government loses the trust of the people the country will cease to be great.
Restore the Republic, Reject the Socialistic Agenda of the Progressive Left!
One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace; good people don’t go into government. – Donald Trump