Thank goodness the election is over and I can now reclaim my television for the recreational use for which it was intended. I was forced into becoming a refuge from the major networks and the bombardment of political ads. There are only so many westerns one can stand on the Western Channel before a Clint Eastwood attitude develops.

If I have ever seen a nastier political advertising campaign, I cannot remember it. As if the U.S. Senate race was not bad enough, the nasties filtered down into the local races and that really saddened me and made me want to reject all candidates who participated in the smut slinging.

I don't want a candidate to tell me half-baked truths and innuendoes about his opponent. I want a candidate to tell me what they stand for, what they have done for me in the past, and what they will do for me in the future. If they have nothing good to say about themselves, then I really don't want to waste my vote on them.

In the U.S. Senate race, I believe that both candidates would have been much better off if the national parties had spent their money on more useful things and left the local campaigning to the locals.

And what is it with these telephone calls at supper time. When I sit down for supper I want to eat supper. I don't want to listen to a recorded voice of someone who does not know me from Adam's house cat, telling me who I should vote for.

I am on a no-call list but apparently the no-call list does not apply to politicians. Well, that's a shocker. Politicians made the rules for the no-call list. I would love to know the average length of those phone calls. Mine were about five seconds and it was only that long because I had to reach for the phone cradle.

This election has confirmed for me what I have been thinking for several years now.

I don't have a political party.

It's true. Neither party represents me or my views. I do not want to be identified with the Pharisees of the religious right (I know a Christian when I see one; someone does not have to tell me they are a Christian), or the liberals who are so far to the left that they have nearly fallen off the globe.

I lost faith in the central government years ago. Rogue federal agencies run roughshod over constituents; spending is obscene; federal government is insensitive to the needs of the people and unresponsive; the truth in Washington is an endangered species; and somewhere along this journey we lost all form of common sense.

What I wish we had on the ballot this year is a third party — one that represents what I believe. I would prefer a reversal of where and how we pay our taxes. The central government was never intended to be the animal it has become. I would prefer to spend more on local taxes and less on federal taxes. At least that way, when my hard earned dollars are misspent, I could look the perpetrator in the eye.

I want a party that would not throw out social programs and welfare treats for the sake of feeling good and buying votes. I want a party that promoted self-help programs, unlimited in nature as long as the effort from the recipient was made.

It makes no sense to create programs that people cannot participate in because they can make more money sitting, drawing welfare then they could by working while training to better themselves.

If a welfare recipient is unwilling to work a traditional job, then put them to work in community service. I can see plenty of things that need done around here and it would not take that big of an imagination to keep the deadbeats busy.

This boondoggle called Homeland Security will go down in history as one of the biggest frauds perpetrated on American society to date. Sure, there are some benefits such as new equipment for local fire departments which makes our communities safe, but that is a drop in the bucket to the rampant spending by that agency.

How much did it cost us to identify the Sweetwater Flea Market as a terrorist target? Or the Mule Day celebration? How ridiculous.

I won't even get into this quagmire called Iraq. Nor will I elaborate on the quality of our intelligence agencies which seem quite good at keeping tabs on Americans but can't seem to find a rogue terrorist in sandals in the Middle East, can't keep track of suspected terrorists already here, and who are taunted by insurgents in Iraq because we can't ever seem to find anyone over there.

I voted. I will always vote, God willing. But it doesn't change the way I feel about the system. I keep hoping that someday, somewhere, a true statesman will rise from the political wilderness and truly lead us to a better way of conducting business.

And I feel confident that a true statesman would tell me what he has done, and what he plans to do, rather than spend millions bashing his opponent with half-baked truths.

Mike Moser is the editor of the Crossville Chronicle. His column is published on Friday.