02 November, 2006

Election Season

Normally, I am what you might call a news junkie of the highest order. Be it magazines, blogs, e-zines or newspapers, I tend to consume information like Chris Farley at a Twinkie factory. I even have BBC world news set as my #1 preset on my radio.

All that being said, this is the time of year where I seriously consider pulling a Ted Kaczinski and locking myself in a remote cabin, all the while composing my manifesto railing about the evils of modern technology. What is the source of my frustration? Election season!!

During election season, a trip to the "Letters to the Editor" section of any major newspaper turns into a minefield of half-truths, conspiracy theories and some partisan ranting that would make any self-medicated street person proud. Near as I can tell, the political "opinions" tend to fall into 1 of 4 categories:
  1. George W. Bush & the Republican party are the source for all things evil in the world today and are the cause of war, pestilence, poverty, hunger and the inexplicable popularity of Ryan Seacrest.
  2. The Democratic party hates America, does not support our troops, is a bunch of lily-livered wussbags and are nothing but (this cliche is my favorite) bleeding-heart liberals.
  3. I am voting for [fill in candidate's name here] because they are on my side. The other guy doesn't care about the working family (oddly enough, both sides of the aisle use this one).
  4. Sombody ought to do somehting about [fill in flavor of the month issue].

Please, some one make it stop. My 6 year old and 4 year old argue with more intelligence than the candidates for governor or senator in my home state of Michigan. Both the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor seem set on bending the truth more than Uri Geller used to do to spoons. Debbie Stabenow in the race for Senate is going with the old tried-and-true political method of "If I say it enough times, it must be true!" in her race against Mike Bouchard. She has advanced the claim that Mike Bouchard served on the board of a company that outsourced jobs overseas...a pretty damning claim in the state of Michigan.

Problem is, the company in question (Jackson National Life Insurance) is quite sure it never outsourced a single job and is demanding a retraction. Stabenow's response? "Well, we stand by our ads becuase it's what we see as the truth." Interesting...too bad that doesn't work in other aspects of life. "Sir, we can't sell you this car because your claim of income of one gazillion dollars is untrue." "Well, I stand my claim because it what's I see as the truth."

The privilege of voting is what makes our country unique. The entire concept of candidates making their cases and informed voters selecting the best leader is the highest form of government on the earth today. Unfortunately, our society is now the equivalent of a high school lockerroom - only the prettiest and most telegenic have a shot at success and all substance it thrown to the wayside. Kinda sad that twice the amount of people who will vote for our government this November 7th will vote for an "American Idol" in a few months.

So now I will retreat into my Fortress of Solitude until the election has ended and the political brouhaha dies down...at least for a few months anyway.