This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The 2012 election is over. We have a bunch of newly [re]-elected politicians. On the bright side, the campaign ads will cease. On the bad side, things will return to normal.
Normal is not a good thing. We still have the same problems we had Tuesday and things aren't going to change anytime soon despite what we've been promised.
That's not what the candidates vowed when they wanted our votes. They made a lot of promises during the campaign, all of which they made sound like would be entirely up to them if elected.
For example, the "Ralph Coprolagnia for Congress" ads specifically promised that he would fight for us, lower our taxes, reduce the deficit and return ethics to government.
Note: "Ralph Coprolagnia" is a pseudonym for [insert real candidate's name here].
Ralph promised us everything that every candidate before him promised and every candidate since then has failed to deliver. If they hadn't failed we wouldn't have Ralph hollering about delivering for real now.
But the problems are a lot more complex than what we're being promised as solutions. A candidate's ad may say "will fight for you," but the truth is most of them get into office and end up doing what they're told by someone else.
No candidate ever promised to go to Washington and be a slave to special interests, a tart for his or her political party, or jack our taxes through the roof. And yet here we are.
The candidates also tried to curry our favor by pointing out that their opponents didn't understand things such as simple math, table manners or even big words.
Candidate A: "The president fails to understand how the math works."
Candidate B: "My opponent has six toes on both feet."
A huge part of the problem is us. Politicians aren't the only ones who fail to understand things or follow through on the ones they do. Because they technically need our permission to make a mess of things, the buck ultimately stops with us.
If we were a smarter electorate we wouldn't have the problems we keep electing them to fix. Unfortunately the typical American voter is a lot like me.
Several days before the election, someone from a polling place called and asked which candidate I planned to support for the office of Congressional Underpants Inspector (not a real office).
I said I was supporting Harold Mungwort (not a real candidate) because I admired his stand on the elimination of federal funding for monkey circumcisions (possibly not a real issue, but close).
The woman inquired as to how firm I was in my choice of candidates. Was there any possibility I might change my support for Mungwort before the election?
Yeah, I didn't have to think about that.
Me: "Sure. For 20 bucks I'll vote for the other guy."
Her: "Excuse me?"
Me: "OK, 10 bucks."
I was lying, of course. I was going to vote Mungwort regardless of how much they paid me to change my mind.
Hey, I may not understand simple math but I know how politics works.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.