The Godless Hedonists, the Gays, the Liberals, the Terrorists (& their Friends the Democrats) are all Against Motherhood & Apple Pie. Now Vote!
We should demand a new menu, but we must develop a discriminating taste first!
We like to complain, right? Americans say they don't like negative ads, but why are the negative ads out there? Because they work! But why do they work? Because Americans don't really pay attention but in the last minute and they don't know much about the issues. At best, during a high-polarized presidential election, maybe half of the eligible voters participate. This extremely critical election [I think it's about representative government, rule of law, and progress] will be decided by a rather small minority of voters.
That's why we have a plethora of personal attacks, and ads that have nothing to do with reality. It's like the attraction of an accident that everyone slows down to watch. Let's face it, for most Americans politics is boring or perceivably irrelevant to their lives. OK, there are many people who are disgusted with the quality of our politics, but I want to ask them what have they done to improve it? Ignoring it? Acting like a tourist in one's own country?
What can an average citizen do? There are many activities that even if they're small cumulatively though they make a big difference. Volunteer for a worthwhile cause, write a letter or email to our elected representatives and to a media outlet, talk about politics (yes, why not?) and raise awareness about an important issue, vote, but, at the very least, be an informed citizen. I'm not saying that we have to know everything or the minute details of a plan, but we should know enough to make an informed and responsible decision when we hire the people to do a job of governing! Voting for someone because that person has a "ranch" [don't laugh, some NASCAR guys said they'd vote for Bush because "that dude has a ranch"... that's all they needed to know! Apparently the fact that dude didn't know anything about ranching and had bought the "ranch" a couple weeks before the election wasn't important] or that he seems like a person to have a beer with are not good reasons!
Isn't logical to say that, if the people are truly disgusted by the negative ads, couldn't they elevate the quality of our politics by making sure that those ads had no impact? The politicians and their consultants know what works today and they use those means! Surely the menu available isn't all that appetizing, but don't just blame those who feed you crap if you're willing to consume it! If people (at least the ones that ..bother to vote) base their decision on a few glimpses of the TV ads and cursory look at the selected but irrelevant issues presented to them by the politicians, then how are things going to change for the better? In other words, ignorance breeds incompetence and we end up electing morons to decide very important issues that affect our lives. Guess who benefits from and who's hurt by the dumbing down of our society? Perpetuating cynicism and apathy works well for the powers that be.
We have a bumper sticker mentality, we respond to the pushing of our emotional buttons, and we don't want to spend the time analyzing the important issues. "Support the Troops" magnetic stickers are on millions of American cars, but what does this really mean? Is anyone against the troops? Is really anyone against his/her own country? Come on now! Though after the initial stance of ..supporting the troops, the next steps would require engaging our grey matter and investing some time examing the facts of this war of choice! But, who has the time to do that?.... That's why the country re-elected GW Bush in 2004 and less than a year later the majority of Americans began to see that they had been lied to and that the war was a bad mistake! OK, it's good to change your mind, but what Americans discovered after the election was actually known before the election--though many Americans ignored the facts and were "swiftboated" by the misleading ads.
Those who are regular readers of this blog know that I'm very much in favor of improving our commonwealth through civil discourse, civic responsibility, and enlightenment. I do believe that we need to elevate our national dialogue, whereas persons like O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, etc, would be laughed out of town because their merchandise would be totally worthless. Yet, those vile and intellectually dishonest individuals have millions of followers that buy the garbage served. I know, there's a dictum in politics: don't offend the people! That's not my intention, but without a sizable mob behind him even the ..Antichrist would be irrelevant--especially if his power derived from the hordes obeying him.
The quality of our politics depends on the quality of the people involved, so in a democratic society we, collectively, get what we deserve. I'm not saying complaining about gutter politics isn't good, but it has to be followed by specific steps to improve our polity. Yes, sometimes tar & feathers are needed for the scoundrels (and there are many out there), but it's rather frustrating to hear someone complain after his car was destroyed when he was the one that gave the car keys to a blind man.