Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: I don’t know if the White House gets junk mail or endless piles of bulk campaign literature in the mailbox. But I do, and that’s one reason I’m sending this letter to the White House today.
Dear Mr. President,
The postman has been bringing a variety of campaign brochures to my house lately. Mainly the usual stuff. There is one remarkable mailer in the form of a nearly 40-page magazine touting the accomplishments of a fellow. Must have cost a fortune. These pamphlets make all sorts of claims about what this person or that has done for my benefit, although I would think that if their accomplishments were that remarkable I would have noticed them already.
What has most struck me about the ads on paper and on TV is what they don’t contain. Far many more than I can recall from previous campaigns make little or no mention of the candidate’s party. Seriously, I often look in vain for even a hint of whether the campaigner is a Democrat, a Republican, or a wandering objectivist. Same goes for many of their websites.
As secretive as they are, you would think they were all members of the Illuminati or minions from some alien species trying to take over our government and create chaos. (Although it seems as if we’re managing that pretty well on our own. Ha!)
I understand why this is happening. Democrats are in deep trouble, so your candidates don’t want to admit they are on that side. The Republicans, even though they are rising in the polls, are still disliked enough that I can understand them not waving their flag too high either. So what I find most often is both Dems and Repubs making veiled statements such as “I’m an independent thinker,” or “He (or she) is an independent who will vote his (or her) conscience.”
Still, here is my question: If you are a Democrat, Republican, true independent, liberal, conservative, or moderate, why not just say so? Because not doing so, it seems to me, constitutes a type of deception or fraud. Sure, being up front about your partnerships and credo could cost you the election in a year like this, but hiding your beliefs to win, I think, just deepens the public’s sense that no one in politics can be trusted. It’s like lying on your resume to get a job for which you are not qualified. What’s the point? How would you feel if someone applied for a position in your White House and concealed his or her actual beliefs about your policies?
I find myself thinking that what all these candidates should really be doing is asking themselves about their own identity. To put it simply, if any campaigner is afraid to say openly and proudly which party he or she is aligned with and to characterize their beliefs (and I understand that can be complex; that there can be, for example, a social liberal who is a fiscal conservative) then I can’t help but wonder if that candidate should in fact dissolve those ties and run as a true independent. After all, there is something inherently dishonest about saying “I want the benefits of membership,” but I also want the benefits of deceiving others about it.
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