Saturday, September 27, 2008

A true secret ballot

The hotel for this year's Western Pennsylvania Mensa Regional Gathering had an unexpected guest--John McCain.

The Straight Talk Express visited the Green Tree Radisson, and along with McCain, Cindy McCain, and Sarah Palin, came three large buses, countless Men in Black, who knows how many advisers and assistants, and an overwhelming amount of luggage.

And all to talk to some farmers in Washington, Pa., about their taxes.

What a waste.

And it's not just McCain. I would have felt the same way if it were Obama. Well, maybe a little less, but I couldn't help but think that the whole method of running a Presidential campaign is extremely wasteful.

Millions are spent on the efforts of a handful of people to be elected to our nation's highest office. Not only is the process a waste of money, but voters wind up not knowing much about the candidates when all is said and done. Much of the information we receive about them is really propaganda, programmed to benefit their causes. There is also the tendency to confuse the candidate's personalities with their stands on the issues--especially this year, with race and (alleged) religion becoming issues as well.

I suggest radical changes in the Presidential campaign.

Try this plan and see what you think.

Publish a list of the candidates and their positions on the issues--but no names or pictures. Just call them Candidate A and Candidate B (and you could probably go down the alphabet farther, as the process would be open to third parties since it would be cheaper). Publish this list in the paper, online, on fliers, what have you. But you wouldn't know who the candidates are. They could go about their business, in their current positions (as they should). You wouldn't have TV commercials in your face saying that so-and-so wants to take your guns away or send your jobs to China. No conventions, no debates, no wanton spending of millions. Just the facts. You vote on the issues, and you don't know the candidates' identities until the election is over.

It's probably a naive idea. The temptation for the media to blow the candidates' covers would be great, and I don't know how the secrecy would be enforced.

But still--it's got to be better than endless campaign ads (mostly paid for by fat cats with hidden agendas) going on and on about how one candidate or another will provoke terrorist attacks, cause gay immigrant drug addicts to run rampant, and, worst of all--raise your taxes!

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