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The First Step

Posted by Bob · May 23rd, 2004 · No Comments

Dear Reader,

It has come time to take an honest look at a problem. In fact, it’s not just a problem but a Problem. Many have tried to solve this problem with limited results. Millions have been poured into an attempt to eradicate this from our country, yet it still exists. Some believe that it’s waning but it’s hard to prove by the activity we have seen here on our very own blog.

You see Dear Reader, the problem is you.

Before everyone comes unspun let me finish!

You are the problem, Dear Reader, yes you, and the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. Understand this “intervention” is for your own good.

Who else puts this much energy into current issues? You!

Who else actually reads the paper — not scansn but reads? You!

Who else actually takes time to consider the impact of (pick a topic) on our future? You!

Who else would sit through a thirty minute broadcast of two people trying to yell over each other? I hope by now you see a trend.

You are a problem because you can see past the flag waving and the cheering masses and the porcelain smiles. You refuse to be told your opinion, you prefer to earn it. You can see the pluses and minuses of most arguments and make a judgment based on your values and experience.

Don’t you see how upsetting this is to the Spin Doctors?

An incumbent runs for re election based on how you feel about your life right now. Isn’t it better? You don’t want to change anything, do you? Of course not, you just go on trusting me and I’ll keep all those nasty details handled and your life in the status quo. Breathe the clean air (well, okay, just breathe), look at that sunset, gee what a great country, vote for me and you get to keep it all.

The challenger needs to create discomfort in your life. How about the price of (fill in the blank)?! It’s an outrage! How much longer can we continue to suffer through the worst (fill in another blank) in our country’s history? We won’t have (fill in the blank) to pass down to our children if this keeps up! The sham! The outrage! You’d better vote for me or risk losing it all .

There are character issues with all candidates (please hold the emails) but the average American voter sees most candidates as about equal in honesty and integrity.

There are always issues with experience. Those who have it, flaunt it. Those who don’t say its overrated.

So just what motivates the average voter into a voting booth and into one corner or another?

The Spin Doctors, that’s what.

They carve off the rough edges in a candidate so the twenty second sound bite that most voters live off of is satisfying and fulfilling. They make banquets for the eye at every photo op. The prepared eloquence of a thirty second commercial is accompanied by music and images that evoke a feast of trust and vision. And they are very good at evoking feasts of trust and vision.

That’s where you come in. Nowhere is it written how to handle someone who participates in the democratic process like you do. You read and remember. You don’t settle for the first explanation from the podium. The challenger is not always right and the incumbent not always wrong. You hold both candidates to their previous records and statements.

Ouch! You can’t expect a candidate to be responsible for everything he says, can you? I mean, what is said in front of group “a” is really not meant to be taken literally by group “b”, is it? Yup, it is by those who watch and listen.

Much has been written of the “dumbing” down of America and nowhere is that more evident than in politics. You have actual radio and television networks dedicated to teaching the masses. (No personal time need be wasted reading more than one source, just dial in and we’ll tell you the truth.)

You, on the other hand, refuse to be told. You refuse to take a seat at the feast of trust, preferring to nibble on actual news. You’re just refusing to play along. You see the problem is you’re too …idealistic.

You believe that democracy flourishes with respectful debate. You prefer to see two or more sides to an issue. You don’t see compromise as losing and you don’t see anything in absolute black or white except integrity.

Well, what should become of you? What can we do to “fix” you? It obvious that the bumper stickers and the campaign buttons and sound bites aren’t working.

Here’s our solution: we don’t have one.

You, this enigma in modern politics, continue to upset the streamlined vision of elections that the Spin Doctors have. Your refusal to knuckle under and be like the majority of voters is pathological.

But in the meantime we will continue to erode your numbers. We’ll make it so convenient to believe in a candidate that you won’t even need to know what party you’re voting for. You’ll be told how you feel about the issues in subtle twists of words on television news, not so subtle choice of words by opinion pieces in our newspaper.

We will eventually find an antidote, a cure, a solution. In the meantime, continue with your activism and your integrity.

It just makes you easier to find you when you stand out from the crowd.

Agree? Disagree? Let’s hear it! All respectful comments are welcome!

Categories: The Decline of America


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