Rhetoric or fact?
By Bob Croker
In getting out and meeting with Pocatello’s citizens I have been blessed with many insightful political observations, none as great as an analogy made between political game playing and professional wrestling. “They put on a show and there has to be a winner and a loser.” How proud does that make our politicians feel?
I have not been keeping score on the Democratic vs Republican comments made in the ISJ, I have better things to do, besides, who takes much stock in opinions? But, I am often entertained by the comments and sometimes I even learn something. The Democrats are for the people, or is it the Republicans that are for the people, I forget? Am I to believe that one party is for people and the other is not? But wait, we the people elected those in office, am I to believe that neither party is for the people? What kind of sense does that make and what good is accomplished by trying to perpetuate such insane arguments?
Obviously each party has an agenda. But, going back to the wrestling analogy, one has to ask whether politics in Idaho, or elsewhere for that matter, has been reduced to some athletic event where there has to be a winner and a loser. My agenda has to trump your agenda and the people be damned. Is this what is happening in the Idaho Legislature as some have implied?
All the more reason for making changes! Not just in those representing the people but in the game plan as well, as long as we are using sports metaphors. If our legislature has evolved into a “them” versus “us”, let’s send some of the “them’s and us’s” (pardon my grammar) home. Enter the Independent.
If, as we are often been led to believe, the two parties do not see eye-to-eye on much perhaps someone representing neutrality, the Independent, can be less of a threat and be someone the partisan politicians would be willing to listen to as they are not of the “other” party, you know, the one they have to beat.
What I have found interesting to this point in the campaigning is the number of people from both the Republican and the Democratic parties that have actually approached me and are willing to talk with me and confess in private that I appear to not be a bad person. I have even had an influential party member, whose party and name will remain anonymous, come to my home just wanting to meet me.
Yes, I believe that I am on to something here! An Independent can make a difference and if we are to believe all that we read as to what happens in our legislature, and I do caution about believing all that you read, then I believe an Independent can help begin that game plan change. We need to have people whose opinions and thoughts are respected or at least tolerated because they represent neutrality.
Let me shock everyone who actually takes the time to read commentaries, and I believe they are few. I am a strong opponent of the Student’s Come First legislation. Yet I have found things in it that I like. When we see something as all bad because the other party came up with the idea nothing is going to change. Did you hear that? I do not believe for one moment that one party is for the people and the other not. I can believe though that egos are so great that listening to the other party is analogous to listening to the enemy, and could be consider a treasonous act by some.
Have we degenerated to the point where a line has to be drawn? You are either for me or you are against me seems to fit some comments I have both read and heard. Some Democrats have accused me of being a Republican in disguise and conversely some Republican have accused me of being a Democrat in disguise. As a society are we really this cynical about whether a person is real or not? Can no one be the real deal? Why is it so hard to believe that someone wants to represent people and get some work done that can be embraced by Democrat and Republican alike?
I have communicated with elected representatives over issues in the past few years as we have experienced difficulties at ISU. I have witnessed a party support faculty yet the elected representatives in that party totally ignore the problems stating they did not want to “make it a political issue.” I have had to remind some of those officials who it is that they represent and who put them into office. I have had emails ignored by our elected officials. Don’t try to tell me one party is better than another. We the people deserve better than election year rhetoric, we deserve to be represented and should settle for nothing but the best from those we place in office, after all, lest they forget, they do work for us.
At the risk of being redundant, know the person for whom you cast a vote. What they stand for, not what their party stands for. Never forget that People Matter, not a Party. Don’t be fooled into believing that one party or the other cares more for people. They may display that care in different ways but the moment you believe someone or some party does not care it is time to remove them from office. Make your November vote one of conscience not one of habit.
Bob Croker is a professor emeritus at Idaho State University who’s running as an independent candidate for Idaho House seat 29A.