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True or False: "We Are All Responsible"

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Message Cameron Salisbury

It's happened again. Another well-meaning soul insisting that EveryOne is to blame for the mess that engulfs the U.S. politically, militarily and economically because in our political system, the country gets what it votes for. Therefore, "we are all responsible."

Some may get their kicks from an existential guilt trip, but please count me out.

First, we almost never get what we think we voted for. Just a few examples: Remember George W. saying he'd be a "uniter, not a divider"? Before the vote he also said yes to more social programs, lower taxes and a balanced budget. Franklin Roosevelt said he'd keep the U.S. out of foreign wars and Richard Nixon said he'd end the war in Viet Nam.

Before election day, voters are bombarded with ads, negative and positive, and promises, some vague, some not. Complicating the process is the media which prefers sound bites to substance. Voters negotiate the mine field and cast their ballots for the person who does the best job of convincing them that he or she will fulfill their fantasy.

Every few years we go to the polls and pin our hopes on a Rorschach ink blot shaped like a person.

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Cameron Salisbury is a biostatistician, epidemiologist and grant writer living in Atlanta.
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