A Challenge for Candidate Palin

The GOP pick for VP was a brilliant political strategy. It accomplished two important goals. It increased donations to the Republican Party and it also has kept the spotlight off important issues. In addition, if E-mail traffic is any indication, it has unnerved the Democrats.

By now everyone has to admit that the US voter is about as informed on issues as a fruit fly is. Can anyone pretend that the average voter casts his ballot based on the economy, justice, or matters of war and peace? The two words that are the biggest threat to the sale of Ambien are "foreign policy". Just mentioning those two words will clear a room faster than a skunk at a picnic. Think of how many democrats still believe that their Party is the anti-war Party.

The average US voter is so uninformed that he does not even vote in his own interest. How else can it be explained that 18,000 of our fellow citizens will continue to die every year because of the lack of access to health care. That is like having a 9/11 every 60 days, but worse. We are doing it to ourselves – and it is so unnecessary.

There is at least one candidate, Nader, who supports health care for all, while lowering the cost by eliminating the insurance companies. Both McCain and Obama support the insurance companies’ profits over health care for the people. A Single Payer system would save lives and also save taxpayer money. Why is there no national discussion about it – because both Parties have sold out to the insurance industry.

Take the hot issue of ‘experience’. Of course experience is important – the kind of experience that no Washington insider gets. How about the experience of having no health care, or having to cut back on groceries, or cutting the thermostat down to 55 in the winter and hoping that pipes don’t freeze. How about the experience of hoping that last year’s shoes will still fit the kids for this school year. How about the experience of not being able to take the family out for pizza, because that, too, is now a luxury that can no longer be afforded. How about the experience of facing foreclosure so some Hedge Fund manager can buy another yacht.

For years, many have wished for other ways of selecting a president. How about a national lottery. That would make it possible for ordinary people – truck drivers, teachers, nurses, farmers, and plumbers to hold the highest office. That won’t happen without changes in the Constitution.

This time around there are some choices for the voters. There is a list of candidates to chose from – Barr, McCain, McKinney, Moore, Nader, Obama and others. The electronic and the print media have all but excluded any candidate who is not a Democrat or Republican.

About Sarah Palin – yes, a brilliant political strategy. She will get the votes of the pro-war, pro-gun crowd. She can fire a weapon while wearing high heels. Biden, can you top that? And maybe most important of all, she will get the votes of all who envy those teeth. In a country where dental care is rapidly becoming a luxury – you have to admire those teeth. Beautiful teeth are becoming the ultimate status symbol. Oprah once said that you could determine a persons economic class just by looking at their teeth. That just might be the most astute observation that Oprah has ever made.

US politics is all about fluff – personality and celebrity. Image over substance. Voters could change that by demanding that participation in the debates not be limited to Democratic and Republican candidates.

Here is a challenge for Governor Palin. How about refusing to participate in any debate which excludes the other VP candidates. Open the debates up to the top four or five candidates. That simple act would elevate Gov. Palin to the category of Statesperson. It would show that she places a higher value on the welfare of the nation than on Party affiliation. It would show a respect for the voters. The inclusion of VP candidate Matt Gonzalez, and others, would elevate the national discussion to include important issues such as foreign policy, health care, the economy, corporate welfare, and education.

The same voters, who would never tolerate a massive book burning, allow the media to pre-select the political messages allowed for public discussion. The media presents a virtual book burning every night with its exclusion of ideas that do not conform to the Republican/Democratic model. Shame on the media, more shame on the people who tolerate such censorship.

This election could be like a shining light, but unless voters become informed the bright light will just lead to another four-year dark tunnel.

In the quiet privacy of the voting booth will voters be thinking about the hundreds of thousands killed in our illegal, pre-emptive war, and the 18,000 who die every year because of lack of health care; or, will the voters’ minds wonder to those issues publicized by the media – lapel pins, age, pomp and ceremony – and don’t forget those teeth.