I just turned off my TV because I couldn't take it anymore.
Political campaign season means we're inundated with political ads from candidates seeking office. Of course, this is a necessary evil because it's the best way for them to "get their message out" and let potential voters know where they stand. Fine.
I could add my voice to the chorus of people who think that there's so much wrong with political campaigning across America, but I believe that for the most part, it works. Despite shaky moments and uncertain times like these, democracy still seems to be hanging on by a few threads. It's not as if we have to worry about any of our political parties being subverted or hijacked by an outsider who plays by his own rules. And as for voter turnout, don't worry. Everyone will show up on Election Day.
Uh, on second thought...
All kidding aside, here's my point. I just turned off the TV because I wanted to sit down here and chat with you about the "go to," ridiculous cliche that we almost always hear candidates - usually experienced politicians, not rookies - utter during campaigns ...
"I STAND FOR AMERICAN VALUES!" or "I'M HERE TO SUPPORT GOOD, OLE FASHIONED SOUTHERN VALUES!" or "OUR CAMPAIGN IS ABOUT HOOSIER VALUES!"
Pardon me while I go throw up.
Can I just ask? What are "American Values?" What are "Southern Values?" What are "Hoosier Values?" All's I want (yes, ALL'S I want) is for our politicians to answer THOSE questions. What exactly ARE these values that you keep vaguely referencing? Are you actually living these values?
Are American Values the best values in the world? Do Southern Values trounce Hoosier Values? Are there differences between all of these "values" or are they the same? Do Europeans have values? Do Africans have values? Who in the world has the very BEST values and what are they? Why do all of these "values" suddenly become important during campaign season and then, after the election is done, we don't hear about them ever again ... until the next campaign cycle.
Also, are these "values" nouns or verbs? Shouldn't we be practicing them every day as opposed to objectifying them during campaign season? We talk about these "values" as if they're a nice, juicy steak that we can throw on the barbecue grill. I don't know. Maybe I'm the crazy one here.
For some weird reason, Las Vegas has come to mind.
"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." I know that's a brilliant advertising slogan dreamed up by someone who I hope has gotten rich from it. However, doesn't a slogan creep its way into our consciousness and become a "value?"
It seems to me that in America, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," has become a true, albeit hedonistic value, whether we want to admit to it or not.
"Eat, Drink and Be Merry." Translation: "Gorge Yourself, Get Sloppy Drunk, Party Hard and hope like hell that photos of you in the nude wearing a church lady hat don't end up on Twitter."
Am I wrong? I dare say that many of these politicians who are preaching about these "American, Hoosier and Good Ole Fashioned Southern Values" are dying to cut loose in Vegas. Just once.
And therein lies the issue. Human nature. Duplicity. Transparency. Good vs. Evil. It's a slippery slope when you're busy out there promoting those "values," isn't it? Suddenly, you can see and feel everyone's eyes glazing over when candidates even utter the word, "values."
We all fall into a deep, albeit brief, political sleep and our minds go numb as we subconsciously KNOW that we're sort of listening to the biggest pile of bullcrap we'll ever hear in our lives. You know you're in trouble when you have to convince even yourself that you're being sincere. You can smell this like dog crap on the bottom of someone's shoe.
Hard work, do unto others, the Golden Rule ... I could go on and on. We KNOW what values are ... or DO we? Do we care? Are these "values" nouns or are they verbs? Are my values better than yours? Surely that depends on who you ask.
These days, we're literally watching people get into fist fights over their values. Ironically, most people walking the planet have pretty much the same values. People basically want the same basic things. You know what they are. Maybe our politicians should spend less time talking about these vague values and more time actually living them. If you did that, you wouldn't need to talk about them because it would be so clear to everyone that you're actually putting them into practice.
Enough of this. I've had it with all of this "values" talk. You know what? I want to tell these politicians to "Take your values and shove 'em!"
However, I'm NOT going to do that. That wouldn't be nice. I'll just wrap this up by saying this...
"I betcha MY values are better than YOURS." Vegas notwithstanding. Sorry Vegas.
You know what? Screw all of this. Let’s just fight.