Column: Candidates often have focus on the wrong issuesWORTHINGTON — At last, at last the elections have come and gone. I tried to follow all that was going on. The Daily Globe said citizens should keep themselves informed, and I took that seriously. I listened to Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich. My — that was a long, long time ago.
By: Ray Crippen, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — At last, at last the elections have come and gone. I tried to follow all that was going on. The Daily Globe said citizens should keep themselves informed, and I took that seriously. I listened to Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich. My — that was a long, long time ago.
I am very glad I never went to Blue Line with one of those undecided voters. 12 o’clock. Waitress says. “We are featuring roast beef and roast chicken.” 12 o’clock becomes 12:15. Undecided says, “I just don’t know. You think the beef is tender?” 12.30. Then it is 12:45. “Oh,” says Undecided, “I guess I will go with the chicken.” I would signal to the waitress and then slump in my seat. Waitress would say to Undecided, “Do you want white meat or dark?”
The politicians talked of many things. Sealing wax and kings. Still, they never got to things I care about. There was a lot of talk about taxes. I guess if voters would listen, politicians would go on about taxes from sunrise to sunset. I remember in sixth grade Mable Hansen told us, “Two things are inevitable, death and taxes.” The passing of years has proved Miss Hansen right. So it is that I pay taxes. I realize that if we are going to have streets and parks ,we all must come together to pick up the tab.
Politicians talked of creating jobs. There is nothing I can do about that, of course. I have tried now and again to hire a handyman. A handyman is hard to come by. And, of course, my jobs don’t last long. I need to get that light fixture repaired.
Presidents talk of creating jobs, but I don’t think they can do much better than I can. If it were in a president’s power to create jobs, every president in turn would press the “Jobs” button his first morning in the Oval Office. That would be the end of unemployment.
I mentioned that none of the candidates ever got to things I care about. First is that routine of last weekend, setting all the clocks back one hour. I realize this is something the Congress and the president require. I don’t like it.
I don’t care what they require. I mean, they can require us to turn our clocks ahead three hours and then back one-half hour and then ahead another hour and then back two hours. Whatever. As long as —once we’ve got everything turned ahead and back according to instructions — we can just leave it that way. Never change our clocks again. As things are now, we will be back at changing clocks once again by March.
I really don’t know what we gain. I am not convinced we gain anything. We reach and climb and turn hands like a troupe of monkeys but, unlike monkeys, we don’t even end up with a coconut.
It is true, I know, that I depend on clocks more than many people do. Televisions and computers change the time on their own. I still have old-time clocks, however — two of them on walls. I would vote for a president who would say I don’t have to change clocks anymore.
The second thing that bothers me — no candidate talked of this, either — I don’t like the bad time they are giving the U.S. Postal Service. The powers that be want to close post offices. They want to deliver mail only five days a week.
I grant you the post office at Hollyhock may have only five customers. Maybe Hollyhock should be closed. I grant you there are days when I get no mail. Still — it seems to me — our government has a responsibility to keep the Postal Service as it is. If USPS doesn’t sell enough stamps, the Congress should vote some money for it.
Candidates did mention aircraft carriers in their debates. The United States now has 10 of those giant, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, with two more under construction. Cost: $4.7 billion per carrier.
I know nothing about national defense, but I do know if they canceled just one aircraft carrier and gave the postal service $1.5 billion, I would be happier.
Ray Crippen is a former editor of the Daily Globe. His column appears on Saturdays.