On Election Day

It’s finally here – Election Day in the United States of America. Many will go to the polls on Tuesday (including me), while many have already voted. Local board of elections will tally votes and declare winners – meanwhile, as winners cheer and mistakenly declare mandates, others will cry, feel remorse, and bitterly complain about something predictable.

Three things have stuck me about the 2012 campaign. First, either it takes far too long or the candidates and parties have purposefully made it an agonizing process.

Secondly, it is interesting how divided the American voters are these days. There is little doubt that Mitt Romney has not only repositioned himself throughout the election process – even contradicting himself on numerous occasions. Yet, many voters will ignore those missteps, not because they believe in Mitt Romney, but because they have a disdain for President Obama and Democrats.

Thirdly, parties and the people representing them on the ballot are willing to pay an enormous price to get what they want – power! Typically in life, there is the price to pay dishonesty, misrepresentations, distortions – but not for politicians because it’s their way of life -and sadly, one that the people blindly accept.

Columnists George Will compared this year’s campaign spending to the amount of money consumer giant Procter and Gamble’s (P&G) advertising expense. Once again, another bad example by Mr. Will as he tries to justify the benefits of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. I want to point out one big difference between product advertising and political ads: P&G is bound to the Federal Trade Commission guidelines stating that advertising claims must be true, non-deceptive, fair, and that advertisers must have evidence to support their claims.

Meanwhile, consider the following numbers:

  • President Obama’s campaign spent over $1 billion
  • Mitt Romney’s campaign spent over $1 billion
  • The Democratic party spent over $ 1 billion
  • The Republican party spent over $1 billion
  • Super PACs spent over $1 billion
  • House of Representatives races spending exceeded $1.3 billion
  • Senate races spending $750 million in 34 races

How many hungry would that money feed?

How many clothes would that money help clothe?

How many uninsured would become insured?

How many jobs would it create through investments in companies for expansion?

How many people could it educate?

How many research grants could it fund?

How many first responders could it rehire?

How many shelters could it help?

How much infrastructure could it improve?

… And, this list can easily go on and on, which speaks volumes.