On this page will appear past examples of my weekly newspaper column,
"At the end of the Line with Ed Kelemen."
Keep coming back, because it will be frequently updated.
This was originally published in 2006, but is just goes to show that some things never change.
Political Promises Explained
Well folks, it's that time of year again- election time. Now, I have no intention of swaying you one way or the other. I just want you to have some inkling of what is actually going on in politicians' minds this time of year.
As we approach that decisive day, the devil is getting more letters, cards, emails and calls than at any time since the heyday of Daniel Webster. Souls are being bartered right and left so that some people can get their hands into the public coffers and others can keep their hands there. All campaign hyperbole is directed to that end. I will now attempt to interpret the hidden meanings of just a few of those other words for lies, “Campaign Promises.”
“I will lower taxes.” This ploy has worked a zillion times in the past, at both local and national levels. It is so transparent that I won't insult my readers' intelligence by explaining the thought process that produces it. Although, 4 years ago, quite a few fellow Pennsylvanians were taken in by it.
“It is time for a change.” What it really means: “I think I should have a turn at getting your change, paper money and anything else that isn't nailed down.”
“My opponent is a bum.” Meaning: “I can do a better job of hiding my true character than the other guy.”
“The incumbent never goes to work.” “And that is a job that I am supremely qualified to handle.”
“I am for/against (Fill in the blank).” Means: “I think this is what this group of clowns I'm talking to right now wants to hear.”
“Religion has no place in government,” When talking to a group of secular-inclined voters, or “Government needs to get back to a basic, God-fearing rule of conscience,” when talking with people of a religious inclination.
“I will fight for a prescription program for elderly and low-income people.” Meaning that, “I won't get one, but I will at least present the appearance of wanting one. At least until the pharmaceutical gravy train stops.”
“How can the incumbent really represent you when he doesn't even live in your area?” Means: “I want a chance to move out of this godforsaken place, too.”
“No more business as usual!” “If you elect me, nothing will change but the name on the office wall.”
“I come from a working class background, just like you.” The thought continues, “And I am sick of it and want something better.”
This is by no means a complete list. But you can see the thinking behind it. It just goes to show that, in over two and a quarter centuries of democracy in this great country, politicians' opinions of us voters hasn't improved one iota. Yet, somehow we always manage to elect people that eventually get the job done the right way. I guess that, just maybe, we aren't as stupid as some politicians think. To paraphrase Mark Twain, “People pretty much get the government that we deserve.”
And life just rolls right along being good.