Featured Column
Week of 4.19.2004
"I'm glad you asked that question"
Just answer the question, please
          Maybe it’s me.
          Maybe it’s the constant, round-the-clock, up-close television coverage. Or maybe things have actually changed. All I know is that I’m tired of seeing these politicians and wannabee office holders staging “news events” where they stand up in front of a line of adoring fans, relatives and carefully placed American flags and offer nothing but trifling, valueless, bombastic criticism of the current office holder.
          I’ve listened closely to a score of politicians over the past few months and I can’t remember one constructive plan for the country, the state or the local area. They bitch and moan about what’s happening to the country, to taxes, to the poor working guy, but I really haven’t heard them say anything that smacks of being constructive. Seems like all they’re doing is getting some free TV time in hopes that they’ll pick up a vote or two.
          The office holders schedule appearances on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and then emerge on the Sunday morning political discourses. We listen to hour upon hour of “We’re right and they’re wrong because they don’t understand.” Scheduled after the office holders are the wannabees. They get an application of left-over pancake makeup and now it’s their turn to dish-the-dirt on TV. The cameras roll and the wannabees begin: “We’re right and they’re wrong - vote for us and we’ll make everyone happy.”
          The poor TV moderators. They ask a reasonable question of the opposing party politician, such as, “So, Mr. Senator, I know that you voted for us attacking Iraq, but recently you’ve criticized the war, what are your thoughts?”
          “Well, Peter, I appreciate you asking that question. I’m so proud of the men and women in our armed forces. They are well trained and very brave. I offer my condolences to the families of our fallen soldiers. My heart goes out to them. I completely support the men and women in our military.”
           Sweating slightly on his upper lip, Peter tries again, “Yes, senator, but exactly what are your criticisms and what would you do differently than the president is doing right now?”
          “Our American military is the best trained, best equipped force in the world. I’m so proud of each and every one of them. All Americans should be proud of our men and women overseas. They’re doing a magnificent job.”
          Just once I would like Peter, the moderator, to look the Senator in the eye and say, “Senator, quit dancing around my question. Stop giving us all the BS and please answer my question. What the hell is your solution to the problem? Now, either answer directly or get off the program!” 
           Incumbents aren’t any better. Any criticism of the current regime’s actions and they send out the dogs to defend their programs and endeavors – not really saying much, just defending.
           Last weekend, on one of the Sunday morning talk shows one of our generals was asked if we were going to send more Marines and soldiers to Iraq. He didn’t answer with a yes or no. His reply to the question was that we might be sending more “capabilities” to Iraq. The reason we might send more “capabilities” to Iraq is because of increased “security challenges.” Does that mean we’re sending more soldiers because more of the enemy are firing more bullets at our guys and gals? Please – just come out and say that!
          We might find more Americans going to the polls and voting in our elections if more of our citizens understood what our politicians were really saying. It would be easier to vote for someone if we knew what they really meant and what they would really do if they were elected or re-elected.
          Let’s cut out the metaphors, the dancing-around-the-answer, the euphemisms, the BS and tell us Americans what you believe and what you would do if we voted for you. Maybe by giving us credit for having some intelligence we might vote for you.
      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