Say what?

Coming off the recent Republican and Democratic national conventions, campaign season is in full swing and with it, a barrage of political rhetoric from both major parties. While usually I would say I hate political rhetoric because it opens the door for politicians to essentially lie in a roundabout way, I’m finding that after the conventions, political rhetoric spewing from both candidates is actually becoming more and more difficult to disagree with.

It’s widely believed that politicians will say whatever the public wants to hear, so long as it’s going to tip the scales in their favor during in an election year. During both Republican and Democratic conventions, fact-checkers were working nonstop to spot false or misleading statements as speakers stood on stage, one by one. What they found varied between true, mostly true, half-truths, mostly false, and false information. It kills me that we need this scale of one to five “truth-o-meter” to evaluate the content of every political speech in the first place. If I were still a kid and told my parents a half-truth, I’m sure they would see it as all lie, then it’s goodbye life of childhood freedom for two weeks.

The Democratic convention came to a close a week ago and ever since, each political party have taken to the airwaves, first to bastardize their opponent, then follow their mudslinging with a slew of feel-good, uplifting words of promise and encouragement that exhibit the good ‘ol die hard American spirit: “Our economy can do better; education standards need to ensure smart, happy and healthy kids; the United States will not bow to terrorism; we can have a better tomorrow; I will support our hard-working teachers, small businesses and our beloved family pets; apple pie and baseball, it’s the American way.”

Practically the same predictable words ring out from the soapbox of both presidential candidates. Call me an inch short of naïve, but aren’t those the same values that everyone wants, regardless of political affiliation? Nobody’s going to disagree with statements like those. It seems to be the campaign strategy of choice to make the opponent look like an imbecile while at the same time, preaching a whole lot of meaningless drivel that I can’t say no to. Of course, politicians know this already. After all, no presidential candidate has ever clinched the vote while running on the platform, “A larger deficit, weaker military, and fatter, dumber kids for a bleak tomorrow” (although it would be an eye-catching political bumper sticker).

I know the next president will uphold the Constitution. That’s the oath taken the first day on the job. Voting for someone because they say a vote for them is a vote for the everyday, hardworking American that built this county – well, that’s something that can be said by both sides. So given that I feel like I’m hearing the same wants and overall objectives from both ends of the political spectrum, maybe I don’t necessarily care about the “what” of a presidential candidates’ goal as much as the “how.” That is, if I hear one say he can “fix” our economy, I want to know how. If there’s a claim that education can be better, I want to know how; if I can be promised a brighter future for myself and the family pet, I want to know how.

And if something is more American than apple pie and baseball … you know, some issues might be better off untouched.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunshawn.

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