Saturday, November 8, 2008

Excuse My French

By John Ramsey Miller

I’m tickled shitless the Presidential elections are over. I despise the process. As an old advertising practitioner I saw the election race as one big three card Monty game fueled by a billion plus dollars and piloted by armies of self interested suits. Call me cynical because I am. I used to get angry, but I’m older now, and I get to say, “I told you so” …a lot.

I hate the constant ads, the barrage of invasive robo phone calls from urging me to dislike this candidate, or to love that one, or to believe the worst or the best small minds could come up with to wrestle my vote from me by any means necessary. I resent the fact that a president is selected in what is no more than a long and tiresome beauty pageant. I resent that we are just buying one product over another based on largely inaccurate, untruthful, and manipulative ads. We are asked to choose a leader the way we are asked to decide between a Ford and a Chevrolet. And no politician ever does what he or she says they will do to get elected. “They” are all always going to give us “change”, but what we get is the same sack of wind spray-painted a different color.

My kids supported Obama because of his promise of affordable health care. I told them to listen to what he was actually saying. He said that he believes everybody “ought” to have it¬¬, never promising that he would “give” them affordable health care. I told them as soon as he was elected he would start explaining why he couldn’t come through on most of his “promises”. I told them that he’d say something like, “Due to the failed policies of the W guy, I can’t give you what I said I could. (This is always the case because a politician “never” admits they made a mistake or lied). Maybe I can do what I said I’d do in my “second” term.” And it would have been just as true with McCain. I’m not a psychic, I’ve seen it over and over. Politicians rarely make good on their promises because that old reality thing gets in their way. If you buy a product that doesn’t do what it advertised, you can take it back. With defective or non-performing politicians you’re stuck with them for years.

I’ve known quite a few politicians, and none are in danger of becoming my close friends. I think you have to be sociopathic to be a successful politician–-to want to rule supreme over some little corner (or large corner) of the world. And I don’t think it really matters all that much who the president is since they are all owned by the people they owe who are going to be calling the shots, or actually steering their course for four or eight years. It isn’t that they don’t do some good, because most do some good even if it’s incidental. After all it’s necessary to please some people in order to stay in office and keep gathering a power base.

The truth is I didn’t vote for Obama, but I am willing to support him as long as he doesn’t betray the people who did vote for him as well as those of us who didn’t think he was the right choice of the two we ended up with. I’m proud that we have a black President, and I’m praying he can impress this old cynic by governing in the best interests of all Americans, not to the detriment of those who didn’t support him due to philosophical differences. I am a centrist, which is a schizophrenic blending of liberal and conservative philosophies. I can live with, and even support, a liberal president. All I can say is I’ll be watching what he does and who he hangs with, and whether he can reach across the aisle and govern from the center, because he won’t have to do that unless he wants to be the president who’s better than the last one, not the same one in a different suit.

Yes we’re the greatest nation on earth, maybe in history, but I truly believe that America is great despite her leaders, not because of them.

Oh, yeah, this is suppose to be about writing. Okay–– All of this watching and listening to politicians gives us (authors) great material, insight into the human animal––especially villains, and into the human condition as well as the state of our country.


  1. A pleasure to read this John.
    The ether is overloaded with the excited utterances about "change."
    I think we might as well have just gone to American Idol to get our candidates. Speeches without substance, sizzle without steak, the rock star wins, and so on.
    Our President-elect started out by going back on a promise regarding public financing. Not a great start.

    Not that I don't hope for the best, but maybe a little realism is called for.

    And, oh yes, great fodder for crime fiction!

  2. I am a Reagan Replublican who really misses the great statesman. That being said I will support Obama because he was elected by the legal method our founding fathers put in place and has worked pretty well for the past hundred and twenty five years. I didn't vote for him, but unlike the nasty little "GW is not My President" crowd I realize the will of the majority and am not going to be a sour pussed ass about losing.

    Those who put all of their hope in him of course be very dissapointed and probably turn him to the dogs pretty quick once he starts to compromise...unless of course he refuses to compromise...then we're all screwed.

    By the way..."shit" is not French...the proper term would be "pleased merdeless"...but the French did come up with the "F" word.

  3. Great post, John. After working for 13 years in the California State Legislature, I think your assessment is dead on. Those rare elected officials who honestly want to do something positive or effect change (and there are a few), realize they can't fight the machine and either become cynics or leave public office.

  4. I'm a centrist, though I lean more right than left if we're counting. However, my biggest fear was never Obama or McCain. My biggest fear (aside from the fear that these damned ads full of bullshit on both sides would continue until the next primaries) was that McCain would get a majority Repub. congress, or that Obama would get a majority Dem. congress. Why? Because at that point there are no checks and balances. There aren't enough sane people (because no politician is sane, and this ESPECIALLY includes THE WAR HERO and THE SAVIOR) to argue for what's RIGHT.

    Oh, and Obama has no more clue what's right than McCain did. Neither of them had any more substance than a jar full of Space. But at least the gun stores are making money with the fear that the dems will finally make owning a gun at all a criminal offense.

    PS - on this one I lean right. They can have my pistol when they pay some other sucker to break into my house and they come up behind me while I shoot him.

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you! At long last a post from someone that makes sense about this election!