Every four years, we citizens of the United States of America have an opportunity to choose who will fill the office of President of the United States. And for nearly two years prior to that opportunity, we must suffer through the American presidential campaign process. We listen to commentators spinning information this way or that, hear results of this poll or that poll, and even hear a dissection of why the polling process is compromised due to the whole group of voters (some say 15 percent) that have only a cell phone, and are thus out of the phone poll loop. Who knew? What will the pollsters do in the next election to account for that?
Television ads seem to have been designed to present (i.e. "dumb down") the candidate's message so that it will appeal to their "targeted voter's" sympathies. I confess that I don't see a lot of commercial television, so that when I do see a campaign ad, I'm mostly struck by the way the message has been massaged to fit the media. I don't think they really tell me much about how a candidate will actually deal with my concerns.
This year there were three debates. I watched two. I was out of the country when the first debate was held, and believe me when I say that Europeans are very interested in and informed about what's going on with our election. They understand global in a way that I don't think many Americans do, yet. In watching the second and third debate I was struck by how the candidates spent a fair amount of their debate time conveying their message through talking points and statements that were aspirational at best, a bit off the mark of truth at worst. What really surprises me is when I hear seemingly educated post-debate commentators comment on the "substance" of the debate. I guess I missed it.
The global economy is in serious trouble. Serious Trouble. And this issue has been barely addressed by the candidates. Meanwhile both talk about tax cuts in order to woo their voters. I'm sorry, but I can't believe we are seriously talking about tax cuts while we have a huge budget deficit, and while we are spending billions on a couple of wars, and billions on the beginnings of an economic bail out. I feel a bit insulted by this campaign rhetoric.
In the last weeks of the campaign the negative attacks have been especially disgusting. One candidate's party mailed out letters to every voter in Virginia using truly vile smear language and graphics to put down his opposing candidate as a way of saying "you should vote for me". I find that insulting and dangerous. Are Americans uninformed enough to vote against rather than for? Do they need to hate one candidate to feel justified voting for their choice? Are they going to believe that one of two men willing to devote their life to the office of President of the United States is "anti-American"?
In spite of all, this I feel good making the choice for President that I did. I feel disappointed that I and other citizens of this country have been to a large degree insulted by the American presidential campaign process. Does anyone else care? Can this be something we can "change" in the future?