There are a lot of politicians out there right now looking for votes. And there are telephone calls, television ads, speeches, debates, forums, political signs, etc. All this political activity has people talking about the upcoming election.
Who is leading? It depends on who you talk to. I bumped into an old friend in Olde Town Conyers recently. He was for the incumbent and intended voting a straight party ticket. He was surprised I did not agree with him.
For many years I had done the same thing he was going to do, but my favorite political party has deserted me. I feel it has lost its way, ignoring action on jobs, the deficit, Iran and a host of other problems. Candidates are spending time on side issues, ignoring discussion of things that matter to the people. The present candidates, principles and positions are no longer as appealing as they once were. Some officeholders have shown American voters that they are not ethical and are self-serving. In fact, the media has described some candidates as liars and hypocrites, who say one thing and do another. They serve campaign donors and not the general public.
When my friend votes, he will probably be joined by others who vote a straight ticket to express party loyalty.
Among those at the polls will be individuals who study candidates, regardless of party, trying to choose leaders able to serve all of the people and change the nation's direction.
The state of America right now has people worried. They do not want to see our standing in the world reduced, our armed forces weakened and our missile strength reduced. They want our returning veterans to be able to find jobs and to secure their promised benefits. Seniors citizens wonder what will happen to them under Obamacare. They also worry about their grandchildren being saddled with so much debt. And they fear the fading of the American dream. College grads cannot find jobs.
President Obama claims he has inherited many of our current problems, and, if given four more years, he will correct them. So far, say his opponents, in his first term, he has failed to do this and is leading the country in the wrong direction.
Looking at party candidates, some have committed ethic lapses, some have been censured, some arrested, some have misused campaign funds and have done little positive while being wined and dined by special interests. Some have awarded contracts to their political supporters and have even failed to pay their taxes and file campaign disclosures.
The question arises as to how a party can offer voters such candidates and expect that people will vote for them just to be party loyalists? Voters should not feel obligated to stick with one party or another if presented with candidates who ignore party principles. A party that expects loyalty must earn it and choose candidates who deserve support from followers. Too many scoundrels are running for office that are more interested in serving self than in serving the public.
When at the polls, voters should remember to give party loyalty when it has been earned. Otherwise, they should feel free to cross party lines and choose the candidates who are truthful, patriotic and virtuous, and who live up to party principles. Judge the candidates by their credentials and by their character.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author, and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.