"If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates." ~Jay LenoThe closer it gets to election time, the crazier politicians act. It isn't enough to remember that just a few short months ago the same candidates were espousing, "We are going to keep this campaign clean and not resort to bad-mouthing our opponents."
Things seem to go along swimmingly for about three days after their initial polite announcements. Then, one politician fires the first small volley, and, soon, the barrage begins. Within a few more days, Democrats and Republicans alike engage in shock and awe. Each office seeker fires every round of slanderous ammunition he has at his disposal in an effort to annihilate his opponent. Cities, states, nations become crime scenes of their bloody encounters.
Finally, we bear witness to their total transformation -- a metamorphosis into alien form. The same politicians now scream their last, "My opponent is a no good, mud-slinging, disgrace to humankind!" As the gore runs deeper and emotions run completely amuck, the shell-shocked candidates emerge from the fray like cheap special effect zombies barely able to recite horrible epithets from dim teleprompters.
The Cardinal Rule
One must never trust a politician running for office. It's akin to trusting a used-car salesman bent on sealing the deal. Let me explain some reasons to follow this advice:
1. Absolutely anyone, of any background, schooling, temperament and cranium content can have a crack at politics.
2. Politicians often rise through the ranks of the party by nepotism, favoritism, sexism, and any number of other reprehensible activities.
3. Politicians have a strong desire to shape the world to suit themselves.
4. Politicians have been schooled and trained in disciplines other than political science and social research, which could actually help them perform their jobs.
5. The moment you elect politicians to the status of government and tell them "get on with it and make our lives better," they forget all about you and do precisely the things you don't want them to do.
6. Politicians are constantly worried about doing well in popularity polls, getting elected, and getting re-elected, so they have little time to do much other real work on important issues.
7. Since politicians are influence-driven people, they are also apt to be influenced by those with the most influence. A freshman politician is like a Little League player heeding a Major League star's advice. He emulates and idolizes the best of the bull-slingers. If he finally becomes one, he's a pro.
8. Politicians become masters of escaping fire with the misquote, the misunderstanding, and the unintentional mistake. Remember these? "I am not a crook." and "I did not have sex with that woman."
9. Sometimes, politicians simply do not need your vote to get elected.
10. Politicians are constantly influenced by high-powered special interest groups and lobbyists.
Quotes Worth Remembering
To conclude, here are some quotes from some famous presidents that apply to politicians:
* “Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” -George Washington
* “In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.” -John Adams
* “Four-fifths of all our troubles would disappear, if we would only sit down and keep still." -Calvin Coolidge
* "I never trust a man unless I’ve got his pecker in my pocket." -Lyndon Johnson
* “Business underlies everything in our national life, including our spiritual life. Witness the fact that in the Lord’s Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach.” -Woodrow Wilson
* “Respect for character is always diminished in proportion to the number among whom the blame or praise is to be divided.” -James Madison
* “I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside me.” -Abraham Lincoln
* “This mode of electioneering suited neither my taste nor my principles. I thought it equally unsuitable to my personal character and to the station in which I am placed.” -John Quincy Adams
* "If you can't convince them, confuse them." -Harry S. Truman
* "Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." -Ronald Reagan