John Andrist: How To Be A Better Voter

Want to be a better, more intelligent voter? No, I’m not going to suggest you vote the way I do.

But we could all do better by changing our methodology. You see, we have a history of voting based on what they say.

This past week was a busy one for speech making. President Obama gave his State of the Union address. Two days later we had another Republican presidential debate. Lots of words.

It isn’t that we are being fed falsehoods. Any yet, we know that when it comes to politics, a speech is just an extra long commercial, although most of us gives those words so much credence when we contemplate casting our ballots..

Few would argue that President Obama was elected for great achievements. How much do most Americans really know about the life that prepared him?

It isn’t hard to learn the basics if we try. He was obviously a very bright student, even in law school. But his professional career is scant — eight years in the Illinois Legislature, and elected to the U.S. Senate for only one term.

Ah, but he is a marvelous speaker. Truth is, many of our presidents have been gifted speakers — Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Kennedy.

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]…it is clear the ability to mesmerize a crowd is the best attribute for gathering votes. Adolph Hitler had no peers.[/mks_pullquote]

But just as many good ones were average speakers at best — perhaps most of the earlier ones as well as Eisenhower and Reagan.

And yet, it is clear the ability to mesmerize a crowd is the best attribute for gathering votes. Adolph Hitler had no peers.

The best way to be a smart voter is to learn what the candidates have done in the past — previous education, experience, home life during their growing years. Make it a journey in discovery of who they are. Isn’t our vote worth the effort?

It will tell you a whole lot more about what you can expect than the  words they speak in the heat of a campaign.

Where did the old scientists go?

Forty-one years ago we began to get serious about disappearing energy resources. President Nixon set a national maximum highway speed limit of 55 miles per hour.

It was in 1974. By the time Jimmy Carter had ascended to the throne a few years later we were turning down thermostats on the order of the president.

Worse yet, science was warning us we were in the grip of long-term cooling all over our planet. You don’t argue with science.

Most of us were stocking up on sweaters and warm wear .  .  . and saying unkind things about the cheaters who were turning their thermostats up to 69 or 70.

I started investing my spare money in energy stocks.

Thank goodness we solved the problem. We hired a new batch of scientists.

I wonder what happened to the old ones.

Oh, by the way, an old friend sent me this clipping from the Washington Post:

“The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulate, at Bergen, Norway.

“Reports from fishermen all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.

“Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Many well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared.”

The dateline on the story was November 2, 1922.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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