Sunday, November 04, 2012

Character Doesn't Matter

Anyone who still believes character matters in elections has apparently not been paying attention. You may recall Oscar Levant’s opening line in the famous Gene Kelly movie, An American in Paris (at least I think that’s where the line comes from), “Underneath this ugly countenance lies a genuine lack of character.”

It is true that most people do not regard Mitt Romney as having an ugly countenance, and, indeed, generally describe him as handsome or, perhaps more pertinent here, as “Presidential.” But it has become absolutely clear during the campaigns that underneath that countenance lies a genuine lack of character. Romney has been exposed as a chronic flip-flopper, willing to say anything to get elected, and more importantly as a chronic, perhaps even pathological liar. This is not merely my opinion, it is by now a matter of fact. Romney seems to have only one conviction, namely, to become President. Other than that he apparently has the courage of no convictions whatever. He changes his tune and his claims to suit the audience he is addressing at the moment and will and does change them entirely to a different audience the very next day, sometimes even in the same day. This indicates to me a complete absence of character, a wishy-washy empty suit, a phony.

If this is so, and I certainly believe it is, how can one explain the fact that the polls indicate the race is going to be a dead heat, a nail-biter, too close to call. If the polls are correct this would indicate that fully half of the voting public could care less about the lack of character of at least one of the candidates for the Presidency of the United States. I find this incredible, virtually impossible to believe, but how else can one explain or understand it? Republicans do not seem to care that there candidate for President is a liar, a vulture capitalist, a candidate unwilling you share his tax returns or even elucidate in any clear form what he truly plans for our country if elected. I guess they are willing to accept this phony either because they don’t care about character, or they are so determined to defeat Obama they would even run a poisonous viper. This suggests something about Republican character in general as well as about Romney’s character in particular. And, if Romney were somehow to win it would suggest some not very flattering things about American character as well.

I do not believe Romney will win, unless somehow Rove and his gang of political gangsters have actually figured out some way of stealing the election. I do not believe the polls are as close as they claim to be. We will soon know. We, the voting public are probably going learn some lessons about the dismal state of politics in the U.S. If Obama wins by a substantial margin we will know the polls have been rigged all along by those in charge of such things. If Obama wins by a very small margin we will know that character, lies and deceit, really don’t matter to American voters. If Romney wins we will know the election has been “fixed” all along. What we should learn is to change our ways and begin to take much more seriously the question of governing our country. Remember what has happened before, both to Al Gore and John Kerry, and be alert.

“For he who sins a second time wakes a dead soul to pain…”

Oscar Wilde

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