Surveying `Da Situation: The Last Straw

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It is bad enough that we’ve already had to endure months of election campaign rhetoric, but I read an article awhile back that was the last straw. I happened to be scanning the newspaper when I came across a piece reporting that the rock star Bruce Springsteen had given his endorsement to one of the candidates running for president. Now, it doesn’t at all surprise me that Mr. Springsteen supports a candidate for president of this great country. He has always been a great American and a great musician, but what does surprise me is that his choice would be in any way shape or form, newsworthy.

I didn’t realize that "The Boss" (as he is known in the music industry) spent countless hours analyzing individual candidate platforms and economic recovery plans. I must have missed his dissertation on the American impact in a global economy. Maybe I missed it because I don’t believe he wrote one. So the question of the day is: Why should I give a rat’s patootie which candidate Mr. Springsteen supports for president? While I have the utmost respect for The Boss’s musical talents, I am confused as to why the American public would care about his political leanings.

This appears to me to be a serious problem for our country. We seem to be looking to others for the answers instead of taking the time to use our own noggins to figure things out. In our quest for fast food, instant coffee and drive-thru banking we have also, in many cases, delegated our thinking to others rather than taking the time to draw our own conclusions. I am also concerned that we have fallen into the trap that makes us believe that just because an individual is good (or great) at something, they must be a genius at everything.

The list of celebrity endorsements of political candidates is a long one and continues to grow. It appears that the minute one of the candidates from either party is seen on a stage raising his arm with the celebrity du jour, the others aren’t far behind with yet another star of stage, screen or television. I may be wrong, but did anyone else see Box Car Willie wearing one of the candidate’s buttons on his latest infomercial? I am not sure what it says about this country’s electorate if we are more interested in whom Oprah is supporting rather than what the candidate is saying about rising fuel costs. I am also a little concerned that some of these folks are full enough of themselves that they would think their endorsement actually holds any power for their chosen candidate.

This whole situation may simply be my own lack of understanding. I don’t buy cereal because it has a ball player’s picture on it. I don’t use the same woodworking equipment as Norm Abrams and my golf clubs are not the same ones as those used by Tiger Woods (which many of my friends say explains my golf game). The reality is I would be more inclined to listen to someone closely related to a situation than one who is not.

I would like to know who Alan Greenspan thinks is the right choice to be the leader of the greatest nation in the world. I might also be interested in which candidate the head of economics at Harvard feels would be our best next leader. I don’t suspect I will see that person in the news wearing anyone’s campaign button. How about asking the head of the American Medical Association whom his choice would be to help us deal with the U.S. health care crisis?

Maybe that would require actual thought process on our parts rather than simply following some media darling’s lead. We may actually have to truly understand the issues instead of letting a glossy piece of mail showing a movie star’s arm around one of the candidates to help make our choice. I don’t know, though, I keep waiting for Zamfir to put down his pan flute on his latest infomercial and enlighten me as to whom I should vote for. And that’s the situation as I survey it….

John Matonich is President and CEO of Rowe Incorporated, and is a licensed surveyor in Michigan and Ohio. He is Chairman of the Joint Gov’t Affairs Committee for ACSM, Chairman of the Bylaws & Resolutions Committee for NSPS, and Vice President of NSPS.

A 78Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE