Tonawanda News

October 16, 2012

LEFFLER: I have seen the enemy and it is us

By Scott Leffler
The Tonawanda News

— Four years ago right about now I was gearing up to go to our nation’s capital for the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States. I had no idea who it was going to be but I knew that I had to mark “inauguration” off my life’s grand to-do list.

Truth be told, I didn’t care who won last time around. Then-Sen. Barack Obama seemed capable. And I’d always like Sen. John McCain. I thought both candidates would do a fine job of keeping America afloat for four more years.

I had such a great time that I’m considering going to the inauguration again. And again, I’m not sure I care who wins. President Obama has been less than impressive. Gov. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, looks like a worse human being each and every time I see or hear him.

As I expected four years ago, Obama has not killed America. And I don’t think his re-election will bring about its demise either. Nor do I think that Romney’s election would be the death-knell for freedom, but as I mentioned last week, his policy ideas frighten me.

I just wish we weren’t in this constant struggle year after year to pick the person we think will do the least amount of damage possible. But until we change the system used to select the president, nothing will change.

I’m not proposing doing away with the primary system. Nor am I suggesting that the electoral college is fundamentally flawed. The system put in place by the Founding Fathers is solid. No, the real problem with the electoral process is our involvement in it. The problem with the system is the outside influence in it. And specifically my involvement in it. Not me as in Scott Leffler, but me as in the media.

We the media are to blame with the apathy in this country. And we’re to blame for the ignorance. Or something like that.

The real problem, in my opinion, is that we feed people what they want rather than what they need. The real problem with the media industry is the word “industry.” The free press isn’t free. It comes at a cost. And that cost demands a profit. And the need for profit means that the masses must be entertained — just like bread and circus for the Romans.

So once again, it would appear, the real problem with America is that the people are getting what they want rather than what they need. In short, the problem is us.

Look, I’m no rocket scientist. I don’t know how to fix the problem. But maybe knowing the problem is the first step to a solution.

On a personal note, Monday marked the 38th anniversary of my birth, which my mother tells me was a very funny day. The story of my birth involves my father delivering a pig in a cargo van. Or something like that. My mom tells it much better. And my dad told it even better than her.

Not all of my 38 years has been as I’d hope, but it’s been interesting. And I look forward to 38 more. Or something like that.

Scott Leffler is 38 years of sweetness wrapped in a bitter candy coating. He shares his mundane life experiences on Twitter @scottleffler.