Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Names Will Sway an Election

The key to any election is not to preach to the choir. No matter the party affiliation, they both have the same strategy. The people on the far left are already convinced. The people on the far right have already made up their minds. There are people on the fringe of both sides who are legitimately undecided, but are reading through the issues, making their decisions, but are likely to go in a particular direction. It's the unwashed masses in the middle who are the target of the polls, the political commercials, the slings and arrows of outrageous campaigns. They are the ones who need the most convincing.

And unfortunately those people are idiots. Morons. Downright unintelligent.

Hasn't anyone asked themselves why political commercials are so ugly? And I'm not even pointing out one side or another. They all do it. Poison the well (see Wikipedia). If we spend enough time running down the opponent and tossing around buzzwords, we can sway the masses, even if we never confront the substance of their beliefs and positions.

For three years of my life, from 7th grade through 9th grade, all I heard were insults. Bullies insulted my hygiene, insulted my choices in music, attempted to cast aspersions upon my supposed sexual preference.... There was no end. And after awhile I started to believe it. It became ingrained in me and my self-concept was defined by what people told me I was, not what I had defined for myself.

See if any of these words or phrases sound familiar. Socialist. Muslim. Non-citizen. Obamacare. For two solid years, that's the majority of what we've heard from active opponents of Barry Soetero. (That's Barack Obama for the thinking citizens among us.) Political bullies, that's all it is. The use of the word socialist is merely an attempt to create a mental link between Barack Obama and communism. Most people who use it can't even define it. By calling Barack Obama a Muslim and questioning his citizenship, people are subconsciously drawing a connection between our President and those who took the World Trade Center down. And Obamacare? What does that mean? Now if you want to talk about President Obama's health care plan, let's sit down. But if you insist on using "Obamacare", then don't waste my time.

And the political bullies are swaying the masses. Just look at the approval ratings. If the presidential election were held tomorrow Obama wouldn't have a chance in hell of winning. Not because of any intelligent discussion of his positions, but because "there ain't no way in hell I'm gonna vote for that Muslim-loving socialist." "We're taking our country back!" As if this country is a volleyball being battered back and forth between the selfish throngs who want it for themselves.

And I know at this point that half of you have turned me off. "Oh, he's been brainwashed by the Libs." As if being Liberal was a crime. As if Liberals had nothing to bring to the table.

So let's look at the election of 2008 for a second. I watched news shows every night for close to a year because it was better than any reality show. Primaries, caucuses, Super Tuesday. For Republicans, the choice became clear pretty quickly. John McCain was their man.

And the machine was set into motion. McCain was too old. McCain was a warmonger. McCain was unhealthy. Any film clip of John McCain stumbling over his words was held out as proof that this man was unfit for the Presidency. And when he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate? Whoa, nelly! She's inexperienced. She's an ignorant hick. She things she has an edge in foreign policy because she can see Russia from her window. Doesn't matter if any of these things were true, or if McCain or Palin said any of the things they were accused of saying. Just like the attacks against "Barry Soetero"- if you say it long enough and loud enough, the masses will believe.

And they did. Barack Obama won overwhelmingly.

So what's the solution? (And if you suggest "taking our country back" then you're disqualified.) Stop voting? No, that's not it. "Vote the bums out"? No, because the next time you're voting out the bums that you voted in the last time. I'd be all for abolishing political parties altogether, but if you had ten equal candidates, and one person won with 23% of the vote, you wouldn't have an electoral college victory for one, and you would have four years of a whiney 77% complaining that their candidate didn't get in.

The solution is an educated electorate. Read. Tear yourself away from "Jersey Shore" and pick up a book. If Olbermann or Limbaugh says something, follow it up. I know, wishful thinking. It's not happening anytime soon. All I can do is change myself. If I can't be true to myself now, I'll have hell to pay later.

“Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed.” --- Bruce Springsteen