Lots of style, no substance

By By Aaron Zundel

By Aaron Zundel

My father loves to tell the story of the little Indian boy who carried the aging rattlesnake up the mountain, only to be bitten once they arrived at the top. When the little boy asked the snake why he would betray him like that, the snake replied, “you knew what I was when you picked me up.”

So it is with politicians. They wish the people would carry them into office, but once they get there, all bets are off.

With voting day quickly approaching, Utah is whipping itself into a political frenzy. But amidst all the glossy ads and baby-kissing loom some very important decisions for Utah voters.

Take, for instance, Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, who’s running for congress in Utah’s Second District. His radio and television ads speak strongly about how the Democrats are “counting” on Utah to help them secure a congressional majority this election year. The ads state that, “If we allow it, Democrat control of Congress will cause us to abandon Iraq’s fragile new democracy and surrender that vital region. It will mean increased dependence on foreign oil, rising gas prices and falling moral standards.”

Prophesying the general destruction of humankind if Republicans lose control of Congress is nothing new this year, but nowhere in Christensen’s campaign of fear does he lay out a plan for himself. He does a fine job of telling us what he will keep the other guys from doing, assuming his opponents really are the baby-sacrificing goat-men he implies they are, but never once does he talk about legislation that he, himself, will enact, support or oppose. For all we know, he could be a proponent of population control; implanting little red lights in everyone’s hands that begin to flash when they turn 30-alerting the execution squad to come.

To be fair to Christensen, he’s not the only candidate spreading fear and paranoia in place of true substance. And that’s not to say that his motives are even malevolent-they’re not. But politics today seems to be more focused on blocking the opposition than it does getting something done yourself. One has to wonder how much good can actually come from that sort of mentality.

Politicians need to be personally responsible for their offices. By that, I mean that candidates have an obligation to make promises and assert their positions very clearly. Holding our representatives accountable for what they accomplish or what they fail to accomplish during their tenure helps keep things honest in an already overly corrupt system; but we can’t do any of that when candidates only focus on the opposition, while never talking about themselves or their own goals.

In a free country like ours, it’s important to exercise our right and duty to vote. But what’s just as important as voting is actually knowing what you’re voting for-and against.

Before Nov. 7, do your homework and figure out what candidates best suit your own position-don’t take it on faith.

Aaron Zundel