Call me naive (not out loud, but you catch my drift), but something seems weird about politicians. I can't quite put a finger on it. Most of them have perfectly coiffed hair and fine-fitting suits, but something just feels wrong about it. They kiss babies, shake hands with potential voters and tell us all how things are bound to get better if we put them in office, but, in the end, I still feel like something is off.
Most times, when a politician takes to the airwaves or I hear one in person, I start getting that "someone just walked over my grave" feeling. You know the feeling, when right out of nowhere, you feel a tingle creep up and down your spine? I've been thinking about this a lot (about 15 minutes or so). I think I've finally figured it out and I will now proudly share it with the millions of folks or read this column.
I believe the problem stems from the fact that many politicians struggle with something very basic: the truth. They seem to have a firm grasp of a lot of things but the truth is not one of them. Politics seems to be a place where the truth goes to die.
I've watched a couple of debates this year (in between snack breaks) and I've done a lot of reading (in People magazine) about the 2012 election cycle. It seems like every time a politician from either side of the aisle opens their mouth, they misremember the facts. Some of it is half-truths, some of it twisted facts and some of it, Lord help us all, is just outright fairy tales. It's really weird. I guess it's not a new thing to politics but it just especially egregious today.
This year will mark the seventh presidential election I will participate in. My first election was in 1988 (I turned 18 just a few days after the 1984 election. You're old! No, I'm not. Yes, you are. Haha. Please, stop using the parentheticals to insult me. Okay, but still ... you're pretty old. Haha. It ends here ...).
That year George H.W. ("Scoobie") Bush was running against somebody named Michael "Slats" Dukakis. Bush had been the vice president under the very popular president, Ronald Reagan, who had decided not to seek re-election that year because he had already served two terms and because he, and I quote, "couldn't get a decent Twinkie in the White House." Dukakis, the Democrat, was the governor of Massachusetts. Bush was known as a war hero, whose plane was shot down during World War II. Dukakis was known as a governor with some seriously bushy eyebrows, who kicked puppies as a sport (I may have some of these facts messed up but that's what I found on The Internet — The Source Of All Truth).
I don't remember who I voted for that year but I was proud to vote.
I'm sure they lied about each other and struggled with patching together a 100% true story, but I don't remember it. I know for sure we didn't have anything like www.factcheck.org back in those days — mostly because Al Gore hadn't invented the Internet yet, but still. We didn't need to fact check (or maybe we should have). But today, as we say in Oklahoma, "you can't believe nobody."
It's sad really because all anybody hear are the "facts" politicians state while speaking at debates or to the American public in places most of us have never heard of like Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida (although I think I've heard of Florida in a mythical The Lost City of Atlantis sort of way. I understand it's somewhere between here and Key West).
I guess we all struggle with the truth. I know I do. I have a lot of good in me but, I'm ashamed to say, I don't always tell the truth.
It probably started out at an early age, when my mom told me about Santa Claus and The Tooth Fairy (Spoiler Alert: They aren't real, unless you ask a politician and then all bets are off). When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I almost came to blow with a kid in my school who had the audacity to tell me Santa Claus was just my parents. It was a pretty tense stand-off for a while, until we both split a Twinkie and went our own ways.
I guess all I'm saying is that politicians are really just like us: human beings. It doesn't always seem like it because of that great hair and blue suits with the red ties, but they are all just humans. They lie. They breathe. They feel. They love. They hurt. So, I guess we should forgive them. Don't believe everything they say, but forgive them.
And in this year's election, I would like to personally endorse Twinkies and The Tooth Fairy.