As often happens during election season, the stock characters have emerged to play their roles; roles that get played again and again, year after year. The roles can cross, and a single candidate can take on several roles, but they’re always the same. Unfortunately, the role-playing generally takes the place of any substantive information about what a candidate really thinks or really wants to do if they get elected.

There’s the “it’s time for a change” person. While this statement is all but meaningless (especially when the one who is saying it lays out an agenda just like the last several generations), it seems to resonate with some people, especially younger people.

Then there’s the “strong leadership” person. Again, a meaningless statement by itself, especially when the person staking this claim has a sum total of two elections under their belt.

Then, there are the “candy store” candidates. These are the ones who get votes by listing all of the great things they’re going to give to us. They list entitlement after entitlement, but seldom have even the slightest clue as to how they are going to fund the programs they propose.

You also have the “bringing people together” candidates. They seem to think they have the magical power to end the bipartisan bickering and mudslinging that has replaced statesmanship in our country. When they get in office and learn that the other side of the aisle holds their beliefs as strongly as they do themselves, very few people get “brought together.”

Let’s not forget the “voice of experience” candidates. These are the people who have been around long enough to know where several bodies are buried. They have risen to the top of their party’s ladder, and whether or not they are the best person for the job, it’s their turn, and, by god, they are going to get it.

What we don’t get while we watch this exercise in political theatre is any real discussion about real issues. Candidates must leave their positions vague enough to win their party’s nomination, while not alienating the other party’s members (some of whose votes they will need to win the general election).

There are several issues affecting this industry that need to be addressed. I’d like to know what each candidate proposes to do about immigration; both the economic issue of legal immigration and the law enforcement issue of illegal immigration. I’d like to know what each candidate has to say about global warming. I’d like to know the candidates’ views on the role of the EPA. I’d like to know what they know (or don’t know) about the science behind the use of chemicals. I’d like to know if they plan on raising my taxes and why.

Once again, as in election years past, the electorate calls out for some honest debate on these and a score of other real issues. Once again, we get “it’s time for a change to strong leadership that will bring people together through their voice of experience—to give you free health care.”

What I’d rather get is some answers. How about you?