I’ve done everything possible to keep base politics out of this blog, but something interesting is taking place in this election cycle that I think needs a little closer look. First and foremost, the concept of courtesy and respect have gone out the window. When I first got into the journalism racket, that was prehistoric times, 1958 to be exact, respect for one’s office was required. In an article on President Eisenhower, he would always be noted as Mr. Eisenhower or President Eisenhower, senators would be senators, congressmen would be representatives or congressmen.
I hear reporters talking about Obama this and Obama that. We may disagree with the man’s philosophies in every respect, but he is the president and that office demands a level of respect. The protocol is simple: The person will be referred to by the highest office he or she has attained, thus Governor Romney, President Obama, Representative Ryan.
I have found it fascinating how people react to their own personal politics. Most readers of this blog are aware that I tend toward a libertarian view with strong fiscal conservatism, and I still wish that Representative Ron Paul was the Republican nominee, but here is what fascinates me most. Libertarians stand with pride calling themselves libertarians. Conservatives shout it out, loud and clear, “Look at me, I am a conservative.” But those of a liberal bent shy away from the label. “Oh, no, I’m more of a centrist,” is what we hear over and over. Or, they use little key words like ‘progressive.’
Our president calls himself a centrist and then calls for a new world order, looks to change the first amendment, and simply won’t use the word liberal. President Obama is as much a liberal as Representative Paul Ryan is a conservative, but won’t come out and say so. At the same time, those that shy from calling themselves liberals will call a conservative horrible names and then take offense at being called a liberal.
In every political philosophy there are of course extremes, and in this election, no one can get away with trying to call themselves centrist, with the economic question and international relations getting the most attention. Big spending or tight belts? Speak softly and carry a big stick or give in to bullies? Naive? Maybe, but those two questions delineate this election, the liberal end far to the left and the conservative end far to the right.
See you at the polls. In the meantime, read good books and stay regular.