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Featured Column
Week of 10.18.2004
"I can't take much more!"
The candidates say nothing
          We’re getting close to Election Day and with its proximity the two presidential candidates and their advisors are omnipresent. Every network, newspaper and magazine is reporting each statement, cough and twitch uttered by the ubiquitous pair: Kerry and Bush, and to a slightly lesser extent Chaney and Edwards. 
          I’m sure I’m not the only one who realizes that nothing new is being said by the candidates. After the first presidential debate the debates that followed were merely restatements and redundancies of the original. Nothing new and original has been said in weeks. 
          More interesting to me than the residue of the electioneering during the haggard and noisome final days of the campaign are the thoughts of my good friend Frederich and his lady friend, Deborah about what the candidates have said and not said thus far.
          So that I might listen to their candid and frank comments about the campaign I invited Fred and Debbie over for tea and crumpets the other night and started the conversation with, “So, Debbie, what do you think of the run for the presidency so far?”
          Debbie, placed her index finger down her throat, feigned gagging and said, “Icky, that’s all I can say about this campaign. To tell you the truth I can’t stand to look at President Bush anymore. When he comes on the TV screen I look away.”
          My friend, Frederich added, “Listen Deb, I know that Bush can wear on our nerves, but that guy, Kerry, is driving me nuts with those long and limp answers to questions. The guy can take more time to say nothing than anyone I’ve ever seen.”
           “I get the impression when I watch Bush that his advisors have coached him on how to answer a half dozen question and when he’s asked something he hasn’t memorized his mind locks up. He repeats a few phrases like ‘It’s hard work,’ or ‘We’re safer now that Sadaam is in Jail,’ or his newest one, ‘He can run, but he can’t hide,” added Debbie.
          My friend Fred got up from the comfort of the couch, poured himself another cup of Earl Grey, added a heaping spoonful of sugar, checked the taste and said, “What bothers me more than anything is how when the speechmaking is done and I sit back to analyze what’s been said I’m never sure. All I know is that the other guy is going to come back the next day and say something like, ‘My opponent doesn’t know what he’s talking about. If he’s elected the country will go to hell in a handbasket. Taxes will rise, millions will go without medical insurance, the draft will begin and terrorism will flourish.” It hardly matters who said what. The next day the other candidate will counter everything that was said and we will all be wondering about what the truth is – or, if there is, indeed, a truth. 
          Debbie could hardly wait to add, “Don’t you guys see how terrible this campaign has been. Both candidates stop just short of calling the other a liar. They both show their naked disdain for what the other claims and declaims. Every night each candidates’ ‘brain trusts’ hit the books and finds every error in nuance or substance that the competition has uttered during that day and the next morning’s newspapers and news broadcasts are filled with the vitriol of correction. Makes me sick. To tell you the truth I just don’t know who or what to believe. I just want this election over with. A few months ago I was sure of who I was going to vote for – now, I just don’t know.”
          Fred took a deep breath, sighed and said, “I think we all know this has been one of the worst and most divisive presidential campaigns in history. And what a stinky time for it. We’re at war, Americans are dying overseas and terrorism has all of us a bit jumpy. I just wish we had a candidate that I fully trusted. You know, someone who leveled with us, someone who told us the truth and gave all of us confidence. Someone who we would follow – like a Truman, a Roosevelt, an Eisenhower, a Washington, a Lincoln.
          It was getting late and I could see that Fred and Debbie had talked enough about the presidential campaign. They were not only tired of the campaign - they were tired of talking about it.
          Debbie headed for the front door and said, “Thanks for the tea and whatever a crumpet is.” Fred said, “Sorry for the negative comments, but it really has been an ugly campaign. Maybe things will get better before election day.”
          I pushed the door closed, locked it and thought to myself, “I doubt it, I really doubt it.”
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
     
Ron Cruger