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Gary Horton: Vote ‘We the people’ in this election

Posted: September 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Over the past two weeks, those of us who tune in to just about anything have been treated (or subjected) to political convention extravaganzas.

First up were those holier-than-you Republicans with their empty chair, incredibly preserved Ann Romney, token Hispanic guy and cardboard-stiff presidential candidate. This political carnival was followed one week later by the just-like-you Democrats’ carnival with their faith-empty platform, toned-armed Michelle Obama, token Hispanic guy and cardboard-stiff presidential candidate.

The two conventions were so similar in format yet so different in feeling. Overheard at the Starbucks: “Boy, you didn’t have to be a social scientist to see or sense the difference. The first convention looked like a bunch of aging country clubbers, while the other looked more like the rest of us.” I’m just repeating what I heard…

Both sides promised salvation from all that ails us. The Republicans seem to be saying that we’ve got to pull ourselves up with our own bootstraps, and if we don’t have bootstraps we’d better make bootstraps for ourselves, and if we don’t have the tools or don’t know how to make bootstraps we’d better lower taxes on rich guys who have the tools and the bootstrap instructions because they won’t help us make bootstraps unless we give them the tax breaks they demand.

Some people call this extortion, but presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan tell us it’s the divine order of things and we’d better get with the program at our temporal (and perhaps spiritual) peril.

The empathetic, feel-our-pain Democrats tell us it takes an entire village of bootstrap makers to lift ourselves up and wouldn’t it be great if we all hug each other and make more bootstraps together. We do this with taxes, and with more taxes, you can lift me up from my bootstraps, and I’ll lift you up from yours, and before we know it things will be just like the good old days — even though we don’t know what bootstraps are anymore and likely don’t have any money left to pay for them if we did.

One could come away thinking America’s in a conundrum, and that conclusion would be true. But we did, at least, learn with certainty that Ann Romney loves that man of hers and Michelle Obama loves that man of hers every bit as much, and boy, doesn’t that make us feel better about our two choices. We also learned that vice presidents make great political pit bulls and, unlike four years ago, today’s pit bulls don’t require lipstick to get the dirty work done.

That’s the conventions in a nutshell. Republicans have nice wives and will keep the seas safe from pirates — and other than that it’s pretty much every man for himself — unless you want an abortion and then they’ll tell you what to do. Democrats have nice wives and say we’re our brother’s keeper and that means paying high taxes for all the welfare and Medicare and public education and all rest of the entitlements we know we actually need — even though we wonder how the math will all work out in the end.

Our judgment is likely clouded with all this convention fanfare and political gamesmanship. Best now to slow down, pull out our grand civic compass and regain our proper American bearings. You know that compass — it’s the one that starts with three giant words in great big letters, emphasizing what this whole American political thing is about:

“We the people, of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

There’s your post-convention voter guide to steer your choice. Strip away the fanfare and let the Constitution be your guide. What party, what candidate, best promotes our “general welfare?” Who best secures the “Blessing of Liberty?” Who will best administer Justice, insuring domestic Tranquility? And what party best serves principles for we the people and our Posterity — for all of “We the people?”

Think about it. Beyond the fanfare and manipulation, this is what this election is all about. More than balloons, wives, and speeches, its quiet, thoughtful reflection that best helps make your choice during this very important, yet confusing time.

There’s a big decision ahead. May We The People choose well.

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.


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