20 November, 2008 - My Political Campaign Day-Dream

We are finally at the end of a Presidential campaign that has promised more change than we have ever been promised before, by the national candidates. As I listen to those promises, I know that many of them cannot be kept because a President doesn’t have the power to make the changes suggested by the candidates if they are elected.

But there is a change I would like to see as we come to the end of the longest and most expensive political campaign in history. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to elect officials to county, state and national office, to the halls of Congress and to the White House. The change I would like to see came to mind as I sat at the National FFA convention in Indianapolis and listened to the nearly 500 FFA delegates conduct their business. Orderly, mannerly, with disagreement, but at the end, consensus and approval of the issues that were being discussed; refreshing to say the least! I guess perhaps that is too much to wish for in the halls of Congress where political debate all too often gets “down and dirty.”

Then I allowed myself to do a little more day-dreaming and wonder “Why can’t we elect a President the way they elect officers at the FFA?” Those who are candidates for the six national officer positions, there were 38 this year, start the process on the first day of the week at the FFA convention. They go through a strenuous interview process that continues through the week , individually and in groups. At the end of the extensive interrogation, six of the thirty-eight are selected to be the national officers...and it all happens in just one week!

Why do we have to take three years to listen to the same rhetoric over and over again; hearing from candidates who are running for office, because they know we love them, and yet they spend billions of dollars, it seems, to tell us why we should love them. We wring our hands over the fact that only the wealthy can run for the White House in this country and the one with the most money can dominate the political ad space in print and broadcast and yet, we embrace the personal-attack mud-slinging ads.

Why can’t we follow the lead of some countries that declare election day three months from the date of the announcement? The candidates are selected, the campaign appearances begin and in three months it’s all over and the successful candidates take office....in three months!

That would be a welcome change, one that I would thoroughly enjoy. But I guess it’s time to stop day-dreaming and get back to reality because I doubt we will ever learn from the FFA or other countries.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.