Jessica Sieff: We need to demand more of candidates

Published 9:17 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2011

There’s something going around.
It’s that time of year, I suppose. The weather changes, your head gets all full of crap, you pump yourself full of vitamin C, but that’s not enough so you pump yourself full of medicine and that just makes you feel tired even when it’s non-drowsy and no matter what you do…
The sick just hangs on for what feels like forever.
Kind of like the current presidential campaign.
I’m not sure when it all started but it’s gotten worse and worse and no amount of vitamin C – as in common sense — seems to help.
Forgive the following tone of blunt disdain.
Or don’t really. That’s OK too.
But I have to ask. Are these really our Republican candidates for the presidency of the United States of America?
No. Really?
Before you lick the stamp on that hate mail – let me just say, I have enormous respect for the GOP. I believe it really is a grand ol’ party. I’ve even thrown a vote or two its way.
That said it has seriously disappointed me in this latest offering of candidates for the next election. And I think there’s a lesson to be learned here.
In the latest political playlist – two enormous missteps. There was Rick Perry’s “whoops” and Herman Cain’s “um, Libya, Libya, let me think…”
First of all, I’m willing to bet a good $20 the editorial board that asked Cain whether or not he agreed with the president’s stand on Libya – only asked him that question because it knew he had no idea what they were talking about.
The fact that anyone really thought this guy had a clue about anything outside of pizza and sound bites is what bothers me more than his response.
His response being poorly covering up the fact that he probably doesn’t even know where Libya is. Cain took to the cameras. He blamed his lack of response on exhaustion. Kind of like a celebrity who shaves her head or shoplifts or melts down on national television.
His opponent, Mr. Rick “Whoops, There It Is” Perry, tried to get past his image problem this week by going on David Letterman and making fun of himself. Whoever told him that was a good idea should be fired.
So what’s the lesson? What could this possibly have to do with those of us who get up every morning and face the real issues? The joblessness, the income gap, the constant challenges to everything from education to equality?
These guys — the people you see on CNN and ABC and NBC, standing at podiums with sparkly smiles and crisp ties and the loafers. They’re supposed to be a reflection of you. Of your ideals. That means their ineptitude, their blatant disconnect from what they claim to master (that would be politics in general) is a reflection on you too.
There’s never a hesitation to blame the media on stuff like this. To say we turn the spotlight on these guys and that’s what causes all the problems. But if people didn’t take men like Herman Cain – who has no evidence of adequate experience for the executive office of the United States – seriously —then maybe neither would we.
Maybe I’m wrong. But it’s a start.
I can’t help but think these days, as we look at the direction this country has been taken in, as we see the real effects of it in our friends and neighbors who struggle every day – that we have to demand more.
It’s not just about assembling. About making a presence known through protest. It’s about changing our collective attitudes in the everyday, to demand substance over “something (or anything) else.”
It’s about being selective in everything we do. How we educate, how we shop and where we choose to spend our dollars. How we innovate and where business is fostered and grown.
It’s about thinking harder. It’s about studying up. It’s about demanding better.
And that’s a standard that should be evident in either party.
Dear political powers that be — do better, for crying out loud.