Carnes: Change? Where, when, how? |

Carnes: Change? Where, when, how?

I did something last week for the first time in 23 years; I bought a new pair of Sorels.

After two decades plus, the linings had worn through, and although I switched out the shoestrings on a few occasions, it was finally time to admit that I was ready for change.

Like most change, this change was for the greater good. My feet are now happier in the snow, and my wife can continue her quest to bring my fashion sense back from the ’80s.

The problem with “change” however (besides now having to put the word in quotes), is that there are so many different types, and this is what seems to confuse our current crop of presidential candidates.

“Change” is really little more than just the end of something followed by the beginning of something else, but the rift between the two is what separates political gobbledygook from civilian reality.

Pardon the cliche, but the only true constant in life is change.

We all change material goods often, such as our clothes, our bed sheets, toothbrushes, hairstyles, cars and, for some of us, wives from time to time.

We change our minds with regularity, based upon the processing of new and improved data for any particular decision. It can be something as simple as which direction to turn at the roundabout or as complicated as which lift to ride next.

We change positions as well. It could be a new job, the way we hold ski poles or switch from sleeping on our stomach to our back.

However, when politicians change positions, it means something completely different altogether. This where the whole “change” thing becomes complicated.

For Barack Obama it means “Our time for change has come.” But what does that mean? Who is “our” and why is it “their” time?

Hillary Clinton says, “I am an agent of change. I embody change.” Narcissism aside, I don’t get it. She’s a woman, she “embodies” a lot of things wealthy middle-aged white guys do not.

Edwards wants “change over the status quo,” as if he does not understand that anything other than status quo is a change.

On the other side of the fence we have John McCain claiming change means our troops will be served chicken instead of beef.

Mitt Romney, “Not only can I talk change with you, I’ve lived it … I have done it … I have changed things.” OK, but you also follow a cult that professes personal belief in Golden Plates, Jesus returning to Missouri and magical underwear, and say those beliefs will have absolutely no bearing on your personal decisions made for the good of the nation.

Mike Huckabee, easily the scariest of them all in terms of the types of changes he wishes (i.e. prays) for, appears to only be concerned with “bringing Christ back to America,” as if changing to a theocracy is the answer to all of our problems.

Perhaps he and Romney could go wait it out together in Missouri. They can join Linus in the pumpkin patch.

Anyway, this nauseating mantra of change being flippantly used by each candidate is insulting to voters even of average intelligence, much less those who actually pay attention to more than one issue every few years. Promising change is not a platform, it’s a marketing slogan.

If the candidates wish to impress voters with sophisticated literary illusions instead of merely babbling about promised change, they should offer up specifics on how to deal with the real problems that the average American voter actually wants them to deal with. Such as the war, the mortgage crisis, health care, record budget deficits, record trade deficits, dollar sinking, prices rising, climate changing, stem cell research, immigration, energy independence, etc.

My Sorels were easy to change, but making the necessary adjustments to government policy takes a lot more than false promises and witty punch lines. Otherwise the only thing changing in D.C. next January will be a few nameplates.

NOTE: The preceding opinions belong to Richard and are not necessarily shared by this newspaper … but they should be.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at

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