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I have a dream

November 21, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

Like Martin Luther King, Jr., I, too, have a dream. Mine isn't as lofty as King's, but if it were ever to become reality, all our lives would be better.

In my dream, all political candidates would have the sense and/or honesty to make campaign promises with the preface, "If elected, I will do everything in my power to . . . (whatever)." Instead, what we have gotten for years has been, "If elected, I will . . . (whatever)."

Four years ago, then-candidate Barack Obama said, "If elected, I will create twelve million new jobs." He vastly underestimated the willingness of the opposition to keep him from succeeding and was able to create only five million new jobs. That failure was turned into a 'broken campaign promise" by the Republicans. If he had only included "do everything in my power," there would not have been any promise broken.

Likewise, in the national crucible we all just endured, Mitt Romney said, "If elected, on day one I will repeal Obamacare." No, he wouldn't. The president doesn't have the power to repeal anything; only Congress can repeal things. Surely, Romney knows that; he was hoping enough voters didn't. Besides, realistically, with the Democrats retaining control of the Senate, Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare would have ended up in the Dumpster anyway.

"I will," at the beginning of a sentence is certainly sexier than "I will do everything in my power," but it is inherently dishonest, particularly when one is making promises he knows he won't have the power to keep. The president isn't omnipotent. He/she cannot control the whole world's economy or dictate to allies or enemies what they must do. Campaign statements that suggest such power will invariably blow up on them, but they still make them.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has stated clearly that there is no limit to the amount of money anonymous billionaires can spend on political advertising, and that there is no requirement that the ads be true. It is called "freedom of speech." In the rest of my dream, candidates would have the honesty to say publicly, "I appreciate the support of the 'Americans-for-the-Obfuscation-of-Truth Super-PAC,' but I must state unequivocally that their current ad in which they suggest that my opponent has had an extra-marital affair with a goat is a flaming pile of poop, and I urge them to discontinue running it."

Of course, another option would be for the TV stations (which made billions running the phony ads) to run this statement, "We have fact-checked the preceding ad and found it to be a (see above.)"

You just can't control what you dream.

Jay Light

Fort Myers Beach



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