- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Hold your breath. Here we go again. The political circus is in full swing. Again. Sad to say, politics and business seem to be on the same discussion plate. They shouldn’t be. A word to those who have a preconceived notion of who I am, what I believe in and what I intend to do. I am an American citizen. A legal one. I was not born here, but I well up with tears when I see Old Glory. I love America with all my heart.

People don’t speak in those terms anymore. People are self-conscious about loving America. People mostly take America for granted. I do not and never will.

You see, if it hadn’t been for American troops, my mother would have met the same fate as the rest of my family in the Nazi concentration camps of World War II. She survived, thank God, because - well, because America cared about something that was happening very far away. America was willing to send millions of its brave men and women though its borders were not in imminent danger. My mother survived because America saved her. She was 14 years old then.

For me, the political climate misses the point. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have the answer. By definition and perhaps by design, both are victims of their own political DNA. Which is to say, it’s tough for a Democrat or Republican to vote his or her conscience on a bill for fear of being ostracized by colleagues of the same party. But Americans tend to vote their consciences, which is why sometimes Republicans get into office and sometimes Democrats get into office.

For me, business should be the No. 1 consideration for voting anyone into office. Most people’s concern is having a job so they can feed their families. Their other concern is being safe. In political speak, that means the economy and our foreign policy.

To run for political office, you do not need a resume. To run for political office, you do not need experience. To run for political office, it seems you have to be able to look into the camera and make the viewers like you. That’s pretty much it, sad to say.

If a politician running for office needed to be qualified, we would weed out a lot of the garbage, and I mean garbage. If America were run as a business, we would all be better off. You know it. And I know it.

Exports should exceed imports. You don’t need a think tank to tell you that. The amount of money the government takes in should exceed the amount of money the government hands out. Period. There should be a budget. A real one. And it should be balanced. Perhaps it’s time for the Constitution to mandate it. It should be law, or else. Or else this is where we find ourselves today: $15 trillion in debt - more than our gross domestic product. Unheard of in our entire history. And unforgivable. I don’t want to put in print what I would suggest should happen to politicians when they are all lined up in a row.

It’s fair to say the two most hated groups of people by job are lawyers and politicians. Lawyers used to be the most hated folks. Politicians (from both sides of the aisle) have taken the lead. You hate ‘em. I hate ‘em. But it’s our fault. Yours. Mine.

It’s our fault for voting in professors from the University of California at Berkeley who can argue a point on television and be convincing at it though they have never run a company or created any jobs. It’s our fault for having the attention span of gnats. Between bites of our morning corn flakes, we watch a half-hour of news in between cooking advice, the latest fashion and who’s bedding whom. It’s our fault.

To whoever winds up being the next president of these United States of America: I hope you will have the courage to do what is necessary for America, not what the polls tell you. I hope you will have the courage to go against your own party when necessary, to do what is right and what will help save America - not what will satisfy your political cohorts. I hope you will have the courage to confront some very real foreign-policy issues that have yet to hit our shores. And both President Obama’s drones and President George W. Bush’s war on evil - yes, war on evil - have done that. Withdrawing our troops? Really?

I hope and pray we, the American public, will ignore which of the candidates has the approval of celebrities. I say, be damned with the lot of ‘em, myself included. Good God, have we come to this? I never realized America’s foreign policy was being decided in Malibu. By actors.

Politicians trot out celebrities and rock stars to convince us they’re worthy of the job, and we, the masses, fall for it. Shame on us. Celebrities are morons, myself included. They should stick to what they do best. Act. Sing. Or burp. I don’t care. But keep the candidates clean of their stain.

Finally, who is Gene Simmons? I am socially liberal. I believe government should stay out of our bedrooms and our churches. Don’t tell me what to think or how to lead my life.

I am an economic conservative. I believe government should let capitalism do what it’s designed to do. Allow companies to compete. Simplify the tax codes. Simplify all the paperwork a company has to fill out. And for God’s sake, give me a two-page tax return. I also believe in the flat tax - 20 percent across the board. I am a foreign-policy conservative. I believe in the Teddy Roosevelt notion: Speak softly and carry a big stick.

On Election Day, I will vote my conscience. I have not decided for whom I will vote. I want to hear what both candidates have to say. Buyer beware.

Gene Simmons is a media mogul and frontman of the rock band Kiss, the juggernaut of all music licensing and merchandise entities. He is head of his own label, Simmons/Universal Records and has the longest-running celebrity reality show, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels.”



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