New Rules for Political Jousting?

By Harry M. Covert

I am grateful this political season is coming to a climax and none too soon. Maybe, just maybe, television will get back to some semblance of order and entertainment, even though I can’t think of any programs I want to see.

While the electorate has been bombarded in every possible way and subjected to stretchers almost beyond measure, the only people making money over the course of the political battlefield have been the broadcasting industry.

Candidates of all stripes have tried to make the populace believe American society is on a treadmill to oblivion and the media has been complicit scaring the daylights out of everyone. The current crop of well-to-do candidates have the answers, if their words and the croaking of their deputies, otherwise known as gasbags, are to be accepted. They’re all loaded and nothing’s wrong with that.

From all sides the flow has been constant –daily email begging for donations. The pleas say “we’re almost at victory but need your immediate $3 gift.” The delete button is a wonderful thing as is the mute button on the TV remote. The moneybags have a never-ending gall to ask the lessers to literally “Cough-Up, America.”

From this standpoint some changes ought to be in store in the form of debates and what is allowed in commercials. Candidates and their professional minions should take oaths” to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” And do so in public. This would certainly test the “honesty and veracity” of them all.

It’s become quite sickening to listen to the charges pro and con. I may have used this once before but it still holds true, “you can fool some of the people some of the time and that’s enough.” This is worth a good laugh in the coffee klatches, tea times and around the sports bars.

Commercials blast away about how salaries and jobs have fallen on hard times – and some have. But, how do the wizards justify the multi-million dollar salaries the professional athletes receive for batting, pitching and catching or passing a football or basketball and take great pleasure as bounty hunters? Certainly, the players can’t be faulted for taking the cash. Just think about the oodles of money the professional owners are earning from the television contracts.

There I go again. The broadcasting networks are the big-time earners. And those “objective” broadcast correspondents-journalists-new readers-hosts slanting their reports don’t do badly either. It’s no small thing that they begin in the half-million dollar yearly salary class. It was interesting to see the “correspondent” interview the presidential challenger on tax-paying amounts. I think here, honesty and veracity could be a subject since neither was required to swear, affirm or promise on a Bible, the Constitution, a Buddhist holy book or simply their word and handshake.

Yes, I’m more than a bit jealous of the incredible paydays. I missed the boat a half century ago. I was all agog at the prospects of life in newspapers. I was so enthralled with the “glamorous” life of reporters I sat down at the typewriter and took a dollar-an-hour job instead of the $10 an hour job promised as a tugboat deck hand. Yes, vision is important, too.

Since I don’t expect the rules of political jousting to change, perhaps a new code or law could be considered throughout the land. For example, all political communications would be printed yellow-green paper.

According to some printing and color professionals the color yellow-green shows deceit and lies.

“I’m Harry Covert and I approve this message.”

Harry M. Covert writes from Frederick, Md.

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