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"Ch-ch-ch changes!'' is a lyric from a David Bowie song, and it is definitely the mantra of the political season.

We have heard about being a force for change. How many candidates promise he or she will change the way Washington works? Even those who have been on the Washington scene for years say they are going to change things.

What does it mean to change? Change is defined as to make something different in a particular way, to alter or make it radically different. We can incur change when we replace, shift, switch, modify or transform a thing or a person.

It is very difficult to change. The reality of change is that the only thing we can really change is ourselves.

In relationships, no matter how we yell and scream, the only thing we can change is ourselves or our attitude toward the relationship. You cannot marry a frog and change him to a prince. Only the frog can change himself into the prince. There are no magic kisses.

The addicted person is the only person who can cure his or her addiction. The 12-step programs are very successful. Once the addicts accept they are addicted to drink, drugs, money, sex or food, then they can begin to overcome their addiction. With the acceptance of the help of a higher power and other addicts, the addicted finally can begin the change that will save their lives.

The serenity prayer puts the subject of change into perspective. To be able to change the things you can change and to accept what cannot be changed is the secret.

What do we want changed in America? What is so wrong with the way things are? We can all agree that we are tired of the sniping rhetoric of the politicians. We want those who have the ability to write our laws to have the best interests of the country in mind. We want politicians to stop buying votes by spending millions of dollars on projects that only benefit a few. We want integrity, honesty and intelligence in those who run our country.

What change can we demand and expect? What reality about our political system do we have to accept? How many times have politicians vowed to change the way things are done?

In reality, change is very difficult. Just like the people who hope the spouse they marry will be a prince or a princess, the people we vote for turn out to be frogs after all.

Mary Partington lives in New Port Richey.