Snippets from the sandbox

Friday November 2, 2012

The assaults on the public by candidates during this campaign season have been the worst that I can remember. When you couple that with the fact that the Presidential candidates will have spent about $1 billion before it is all over, you have to wonder if this country has completely lost its collective intelligence, if not its moral and ethical compass (if it ever had one).

What bothers me the most is that the barrage of unending television ads assume that the people watching them must be dumber than dirt. I want to believe that we are smarter than that and that we can see through all of the bull and understand that candidates and their teams are trying to win us over with half-truths, lies and pithy phrases that will stick in our heads while we make our choices on the ballot.

What I want to believe and what passes for reality do not seem to match in this unending campaign season. Romney turns into a pit bull at a so-called debate and millions of people decide he is their candidate.

Millions of voters remain undecided and they are having trouble figuring out who they want to be their President. Sure, I am biased and I think that Obama is a better choice, not because he is perfect, but because I believe that he really cares about the average American.

Based on all of the "real" information I have been able to gather it has become clear to me that Romney cares more about making sure his rich friends and a small percentage of big business owners have ways to increase their wealth.

His remarks about the 47 percent of Americans who he sees as victims unworthy of help, was one of the few glimpses we have had into the heart and soul of Romney. When I saw that video it was one of the few times that I actually sensed that what he was saying was coming from his belief core.

Despite glimpses of the real Romney, nearly half of all Americans think he will represent them well as President. I’m sure there are many intelligent Romney supporters, but it seems that too many of them have either let their brains take an extended holiday or they have been somehow fooled into believing that he will help them when he becomes president.

Of course, another way to look at Romney supporters is to say that they are not looking for help from him or from the government and that they want him to be president because they are happy with what they have and they want to pay fewer taxes and they want the government to do less for everyone.

That implies that many of those people do not want to put any more money or effort into helping the 15 percent of Americans who have no access to health care, the millions of American children who go to bed hungry each night and the millions of homeless people who hope they find a place for the night that wards off death by hypothermia. The list is endless.

When I vote I look for a candidate that is willing to expose his or her humanity to the voters. It may be considered unimportant by some, but I want my candidate to first of all consider the human needs of the people they represent.

Imagine a television ad that went something like this. "Hello, my name is Joe Friendly and I want your vote because I feel that government has a role to play in the current self-destructing actions of the human race in this country. I want government to care more about how we support the majority of us rather than giving priority to the minority who control the majority of wealth. I know one voice may not be able to make a big difference but if you care about your future as a human being, first and foremost, vote for me."

Instead what we get are "snippets from the sandbox." Perhaps, some day politicians will begin operating on a higher level, but I don’t have a lot of hope for that.

Richard Davis is a registered nurse and executive director of Vermont Citizens Campaign for Health. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at


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