Archived Story

Is this what our forefathers imagined?

Published 9:00am Thursday, January 26, 2012

Column: Thanks for Listening

I wrote the following last August in my column:

“We are in a sad state because we lack leadership. Look around, people. We have no leaders. It does not matter if you wear Birkenstocks and follow the left or are dressed in Brooks Brothers suits and spew Ronald Reagan quotes from the mountaintop — you failed our country. …

“What do we as a country need to do to find true leadership? Where are the people who have courage and integrity? How nice would it be to find a few folks who combine passion, confidence and clarity during a time when our country needs those fine traits the most.

“Is finding a person or people with focus combined with a collaborative nature that hard? Do our current leaders think that we as a country are dumb? I really think they do. Our so-called forerunners are in Washington every day with only one agenda — to get re-elected.

“This is why we are suffering as a country. Imagine if they all were really doing what they promised to do? I know that working for the common good of the country seems far-fetched, but, hey, we can dream, can’t we? …

“Make no mistake about it; this column does not slant right or left. This column is all about responsibility and direction. This column is about hope.”

It has been six months since I penned these words and not one thing has changed. It actually has gotten worse. How, you say? Well, let’s see.

Happy second birthday, Super PAC: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission on Jan. 21, 2010, was a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that the First Amendment prohibits government from placing limits on independent spending for political purposes by corporations and unions.

So get ready, America; here is how we find leaders now. We find the wealthy corporations, unions and individuals who anonymously can spend as much as they want in favor of a candidate. Then you spend millions of dollars fueling a bloodbath of attack ads versus the other candidate.

Whoever comes out unscathed and still breathing is your leader. If the leader chosen has been married three times with seven mistresses and has fathered eight kids out of wedlock, that is OK.

Why is it OK, you ask?

Because the money spent on attack ads can also be spent telling you that it is perfectly acceptable to have three wives, mistresses, offshore accounts and a baby goat named Bob. You already are seeing it in the Republican primaries. I cannot even imagine the presidential races.

You know what else is neat? The candidates can claim that they had nothing to do with the attacks because the presidential campaigns can’t legally communicate with the Super PACs doing the dirty work. Amazing. This is exactly the way our forefathers had imagined it.

Feel the sarcasm? Good.

Don’t be a sheep. Look for the real leaders.

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you. (Woo, woo, woo.)


Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.