By Rheta Grimsley Johnson
The Republican presidential candidates, past and present, seem obsessed with the oddest matters. Some of these “issues” are, in no particular order:
• Birth control. Rick Santorum wants to do away with it, or at least do away with the nasty deed that makes some need it.
• Abortion. Turn back the clock.
• France. Always a popular punchline, if an unlikely debate topic.
• Gay marriage. Can’t have that.
• One another’s religious faith. My cult is better than your cult.
• One another’s wealth. Will the real Captain of Capitalism please stand up?
• One another’s marital history. Herman Cain should have gone on the offensive like the Newt-ster.
• Health insurance. (See turn back the clock.)
• Inherited versus created crises. To hear the Republican candidates tell it, the economy was thriving and the country at peace when Barack Obama came to office.
• Whether or not Rick Perry ever had qualms about executions, a Texas cottage industry.
• Who is best equipped to beat Obama.
You’d think the real problems facing this country eventually might surface in the campaign, but then again, maybe not. The candidates are not talking about what to do so much as what to undo.
Repeal Roe v. Wade. Sabotage Obamacare. Replace unemployment benefits with unemployment “savings accounts,” whatever that might be.
Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can undo in your country.
Not since, oh, Sarah Palin have we heard candidates so clueless as to what real concerns real voters have. A lot of Americans don’t have jobs. Those of us lucky enough to have jobs want good roads on which to get to the jobs. And we need to be able to afford the gas that goes in the car that goes on the road that gets to the job. Those mundane kinds of concerns.
It’s not rocket science. (We abandoned an ambitious space program years ago.) It’s simple arithmetic. Most of us want to work hard at a job that pays a living wage. And by “living” we don’t mean by the side of the road. We want to have plenty to eat, a roof over our heads, hope for retirement before age 85.
I cannot believe I’m alone in believing that it’s tiring watching rich men (at this point, all men) fight over who shafted the most ordinary people to make his millions. Or who has flip-flopped the most times on red-button social issues like abortion, gun control and gay marriage. Or who has been photographed in the past reaching across the aisle or standing next to Nancy Pelosi. Shame, shame.
That old movie “Network” had a wonderful scene in which thousands of television viewers, egged on by a maniacal broadcaster, in unison stuck their heads out of their respective windows and yelled, “I’m tired as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
You almost can feel the groundswell of popular disenchantment with narcissistic politicians who think we actually care how many wives they have abandoned or what Bibles they read. Those are luxury issues for countries that have plenty of good jobs, universal health care, a solid infrastructure and peace.
Syndicated columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson lives near Iuka. Contact her at Iuka, MS 38852. To find out more about Rheta Grimsley Johnson and her books, visit www.rhetagrimsleyjohnsonbooks.com.