Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Turd with a Bow

As the road to November 6 stretches on and on and on . . . and on, we find ourselves under constant bombardment by both sides.  Hate and negativity proliferate the airwaves, striving to direct a campaign weary populace towards one candidate or another.  Somehow, through the deluge of spun facts, slight distortions, and outright untruths, our voting population is supposed to pick the party that will lead us down a path to a better America.  Best of luck to us all.

Emotion will win the election, not facts.  Campaign strategists know this and exploit it at every opportunity.  Their job really has two simple aims - 
  1. Energize the base with fiery rhetoric designed to enflame their emotional attachment to the party brand.
  2. Paint opposing pictures of the two parties/candidates using an unequal mixture of fact and emotion to generate a gut reaction in the independent population

This week’s Republican National Convention provided a prime example of both, as I am sure the Democratic National Convention will.  Networks treated viewers to both the Republican All-Stars, standing at the bully pulpit to preach their conservative agenda mixed with the anti-Obama fear-mongering, and the Democratic talking heads (depending on the network), who offered the opposing ideology.  This week, the Democrats will present the yin to the Republicans yang, completing the circle of full cycle campaign rhetoric.

Most people have difficulty expressing their political opinion in a calm and focused discussion.  Usually it breaks down into emotional responses instead of intellectual ones.  This is the way the parties prefer it.  They want us thinking with our stomach rather than our brain.  If the only reason we vote for a specific candidate is the way we feel about them (or the other guy) instead of reasoning through the facts about each of their policies, then the campaign managers have earned their paychecks.  They don’t want thoughtful voters, they want panicked lemmings.

They way I hear it, from all media sources, not just the ones labeled as biased, from the messages in campaign ads, from the candidates themselves, from their PACs and Super-PACs, is that I have a choice.  My choice is limited to one disaster or another.  I can choose between two different economic dooms, two different types of destruction, two different kinds of American apocolypse.

Basically, I am getting a turd with a bow on it, but I get to choose the least offending bow.

Is this the kind of way we should be making our decisions?  Do you want the greatest country in the world run by a man placed there because you were scared of the alternative?  I certainly don’t.  I want this country to head in a direction crafted by thoughtful choice instead of fearful negativity.  Emotion is easy, but thinking will yield greater results.

Consider the facts.  Instead of reacting emotionally to a speech, an ad, or the chopped up soundbites loved by the media, do some research.  Cobble together your own realty-based impression of the candidates and the parties and use your brain to decide who you will vote for, not your stomach.  This is the only way to sort through the maelstrom of partial facts and misinformation thrown at us everyday.

Remember that you are an American.  You have your own voice.  You are allowed to be an independent thinker free of social pressures.  Wade past your emotional responses and find the issues important to you, then think about them.

It is this way that we can ensure America’s greatness.  Otherwise, regardless of the man we choose, or the party we put in power, we are guaranteed an America as the result of emotion tugging campaign managers instead of an America built by the thoughtful will of its citizens.

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