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Proof Is What Counts

by Sudhama Ranganathan Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Politicians have a tendency to make promise upon promise come election time, and that's to be expected. They are competing with one another and that competition brings about the need to discuss those things they would like to come to pass as though they already have come to pass. It seems to bring about the need to discuss what they most wanted to happen as if it actually had occurred, whether it has or not. The competition tends to bring about the need to blame the other person instead of confessing some of your own faults.

The problem with that is when it happens time after time, people start to disbelieve. They just cannot trust leaders that say one laundry list of things to get into office, and then once in office just behave as if they were someone completely different. Circumstances change, and many things cannot be be done due to external forces. But there are things that can.

Some things are absolutely in the power of the person in office to make good on. Yet when the time comes they lose their political will to do them. Then there are people that do just the opposite when they could have made good on their promises because they think it will help them politically.

Such politicians become more of a disappointment than anything else and end up losing themselves in front of the entire nation when such things occur. The problem is, we just don't know who they are. One could say they begin to lose their soul, but who is to say that was not the way they really were to begin with, and we just could not see it? It could be that there always was a warped two sided sensibility to them that manifests itself as hypocritical when looked at in terms of a short time period. Only through a longer time period do you really begin to see the true nature of the person.

Whatever the case, people that aren't able to make up their mind, that aren't able to maintain even the smallest flicker of who they are politically and individually, lose something in front of our very eyes. People that turn out to have misrepresented themselves are so disappointing and that can reduce the very hope and morale of so many that counted on them.

It's one thing when a person is stymied by the process- and that does happen. But when that person gets into office and begins making policy decisions that go against not just what they said, but what the people that voted them into office hoped for, it breaks a kind of trust. When it happens one time, people feel let down, but adults understand. Life isn't easy, fair and certainly not without its compromises.

When it happens again, people start to wonder a little, but still they understand the world of politics is not about being always immobile and saying you come to me or else, that's the world of dictators and military men. But once it' happened again and again repeatedly, people arrive at a point where the person they put so much hope and faith in fails to live up to their promises. They begin questioning themselves and the person they trusted. They begin to wonder if the person they put their faith in simply led them nowhere through whatever music lilted out of their pipe in order to get money and power.

It is like being discovered for being a fraud. Quite often it can be even more painful and embarrassing for those that put the faith in them from the beginning than for the person that perpetrated the fraud. Those that followed and put their faith in them start to feel like failures and frauds by proxy. Words stop serving as balm after a period.

Beyond that point only actions serve to continue the path or not. Beyond that point talk becomes a turnoff like the street hustler that has stood on the same corner too long puling the same hustle on so many. All the people that pass have either had the hustle pulled on them already or have had the word spread to them to stay away. It's gotten old, lame and stale, and though the words and ability to act are good the patina has been sanded off a bit. The once shiny halo has become like rumpled aluminum foil wrapped around their head. The cool charm wore thin becoming translucent and slightly fractured.

There are ways to change that. Granted they are ways that favor the incumbent over the challenger, depending on the record of the challenger that is. If the incumbent realized their mistakes they can change. There is always that. That change can be a powerful thing. It takes away ammunition from their foes and it causes those that have long since stopped asking “what happened to this guy?” and just gave up to start thinking about coming back. But that has to be done through more than just fancy preachers with golden mikes acting like they were dancing to old rap music that was whack even when it came out.

Things that can be changed should be. Instead of there being a laundry list a mile long of the things that were not accomplished making the person look incompetent and a political hack, they can point to some very muscular robust new points on the list showing they made good on their promises instead of sitting back as though they hesitated their entire way through their term saying, “uuuhhh welllll, now if I do this, this may be the outcome and if I do that, that may also happen, but also I can do that and that may happen...” over and over. When they give their list of the things they've done and it comes across like the salesman trying to sell a 1984 Ford Escort with 300,000 miles on it as if it were a brand new Corvette, there's a problem. People can see you can talk, but think you're all game with no ability to follow through. It looks cheap.

If they can show they can take action and make things happen, they can prove their critics wrong, trounce their opponents and make good on their promises, which for their most loyal supporters would be just what they have been waiting in the wings for the whole time. Otherwise, they just appear as if they either were not the person they claimed to be or were not up to the job in the first place. And being as we only have two choices right now and they both are full of flip floppers and people that just can't seem to make good on their word, we're stuck. It's like John Stewart once said to President Evo Morales of Bolivia regarding our political system when he appeared as a guest on the Daily Show, “it's a little rigged.” ( And our dreams of hope and change end up as just that – sincere expressions that end up as clownish tawdry jokes.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to

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