Mark Twain

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Friday, October 22, 2010

The Silly Season

We are in the midst of what I traditionally call "the silly season". We have been suffering through the pre-election period that will blessedly be over the beginning of November.

Politics is not my favorite subject. In fact I considered making this a "soap box" topic, but my comments in that section are really closed to discussion. When I want to rant about something, I don't really care for feedback.

Not so with Politics. I would love to hear others comments on this topic.

Where to begin. I am annoyed and disillusioned by so many aspects of the election process that I don't know how to start.

I should say that I am not a politically astute person. I am not registered with either political party - I am registered Independent because at various times I am frustrated with both parties. I just cannot align myself with either of them. I do believe strongly in participating in the voting process. I don't think that frustration with trappings of the politics should get in the way of casting a vote. It is the best way to state how you feel about our government's actions and to make a change. And change still seems to be the mantra of our population.

What drives me absolutely crazy is the terrible waste of resources and the twisted finger pointing and spinning of facts used to get your vote. For example:

The road signs are a total waste of time and money. They clutter the yards and highways. They provide no information whatever about the candidate - other than the "vote for me" message. I can't believe that any one's vote is changed because they saw a sign in their neighbor's yard (or 10 signs like some yards have). The cost of the signs and the man power used to distribute them and clean up is really of no value to educating the voting public.

Candidate materials that show up in your front door and mail box have limited value. At least they have some of the candidates positions on them.

Robo-calls are the most annoying. I don't know how much they cost - probably not that much because they are machine generated, but the interruption factor in your home is most intrusive. I hang up as soon as I get one and so no information is imparted through that method in my house.

And then there are the TV ads. Holy cow! They are expensive beyond measure, repeated until you want to throw a shoe at the TV screen, they are usually filled with slanted content about the opponent that at times is so ugly and exaggerated that you wonder how could someone "approve this ad". There is only one senatorial candidate in our area whose TV ads are reasonable in frequency and focused entirely her record. I respect that so much that I would vote for her regardless of her views. Isn't that sad.

But to complain without offering a solution is just as bad. I have thought about solutions.
  • Limit campaigning periods to a set period. Six weeks should be enough for anyone to get get educated and make up their mind about the issues.
  • Limit campaign expenditures - everyone should have a fair shot at getting their message out - not just the person with the most money. If you manage to collect more money than is allowed, the overage could be used to promote ecological issues or provide educational funding for talented individuals - promote positive community efforts in the name of the candidate who contributed the funds. They get a publicity bonus that counts for something, but they don't get to slam us to the point of insanity with campaign materials, ads, phone calls, TV spots.
  • Require that some funds go to a central independent group for the consolidation and publication of each candidate's position, so that voters who want to be educated about the various candidates can have a single publication - a consolidated position document to review and make decisions about.
  • Require 2 or 3 debates that are open to the public - either in person or through some sort of media (TV, radio, newspaper) something so you can get a sense of the person and how they comport themselves.
  • Allow a "none of the above" choice on the ballot. So many people don't vote because they don't support either candidate. Give people an opportunity to vote and express their frustration with the choices rather than voting against a candidate without really supporting the person they voted for. I heard that option on my local radio station and I thought it was genius!
Just those 5 bullet points would make the process so much more civilized.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Well, this is a first! I never get involved in political discussions because it seems the older I get, the more cynical I get. I try to believe that at least some of the politicians want to do good, but I never see any evidence of it. However....I love the idea of allowing a "none of the above" choice on the ballot!! I always vote because I don't want to be counted among the apathetic but I am tired of voting based on the "lesser of 2 evils".

    As to the money...I guess the idea is that since it comes from supporters, a lot of money shows a lot of support. But I like the idea of transferring some of it to something that actually adds value somewhere - a novel idea for government. Those Andy Griffith ads promoting Obamacare cost 3.2 million dollars (my tax dollars, by the way...). I can only image the amount of dollars spent on the non-stop 'political noise' that is all over the airways across the country these days.

    And if you think it is bad here, you should hear them in Kentucky!!!

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