Friday, October 26, 2012

November 7th, Hurry Up!

A person holding the conch, being told the floor is yours, or being passed the microphone; different ways for different time periods. Jumping on a soapbox so that others can hear what one has to say is nothing new. Ignore, for a moment, the soapbox analogy. Examples of speaking to groups of people is nearly as constant as the world's longest running profession of prostitution, which could be a bit analogous to the source of irritation that prompts me to write this morning.

Come November 6, 2012, Americans will cast their vote in response to a months - or years - long process of several men trying to assume the office of the President of the United States. Other laws and offices that will be voted upon, but none, in my opinion, will make me happier to see come and go. Keeping my focus on American Presidential elections, I'll share some of what I understand concerning the history of the American Presidential campaign.

In it's earlier stages, campaigning for the office of President didn't have the benefit of reaching the same number of people that can be reached in recent years, a change owed to radio, television, and so on. Let's also acknowledge that people had shit to do, farms to tend, and families to raise; time was better spent hard at work rather than sitting idly listening to a person who really didn't matter in then daily lives, at least not perceptively so. Organized events were still in use, so there were still recorded picnics, parades and rallies that a candidate would use as vehicles to speak to the people. These still happen today, which are awesome opportunities for candidates to get their word out and endear themselves to the people which affect the outcome of the election.

Behind the scenes activity was evident too. Interested entities would organize these events as the candidate rode town to town. Buttons would be made, flyers printed, and banners sewn; all so the candidates presence would be felt wherever they were - and were not - able to go. A goal of "breed familiarity so that others vote for you" was still prevalent back then.

I imagine there are no less buttons and flyers these days, but the behind the scenes work is even more apparent. Turn on the TV and see an advertisement ending with "I'm (so & so) and I approve this message." The phone rings and on the other line is an automated voice preaching the amazing good on the horizon, should their particular candidate be elected, which is certain, but only with your vote. Drive through any random neighborhood and you'll see lawns planted with sign after sign expressing the homeowner's Presidential go-to guy. Talk show hosts become venues to gather support for a candidate, celebrity luminaries lend their support, and even musical artists stage shows to raise money for their chosen candidate, many artists of which who once sought to stick it to "the man." Fashion, even, has become a popular avenue for supporting one's chosen candidate. The interweb has become saturated with people seeking to have their two-cents heard. I wonder, is nothing exempt from political flag waving and rabble rousing? I'm surprised that food isn't injected with something that turns our bodily functions into campaign advertisements.

My irritation rose just writing the last paragraph. I don't even care to count the words or sentences within. Presidential election years are beyond irritating, and I know exactly why I feel this way. It has nothing to do with the ridiculous derision on both sides of the fence, though this, too, bugs the living shit out of me. It's not the arguing and endless debating amongst the little people (meaning "us"). It isn't even the campaign strategies mentioned above that send me over the edge. No, the source of this annoyance is far more insidious.

Seeing as there is no specific day in which campaigning begins, the start begins long before election year has arrived. Often times, a candidate is tapped for future ascendancy long before their designated time arrives. At first it's barely noticeable, finding it's way into the media like a slow moving cancer moving it's way through our lymphatic system, just waiting to embed itself and make itself known. Before you can protest it, you're favorite TV show is being interrupted or cancelled in lieu of a debate. Commercial times are filled with campaign spots. Written media becomes more focused on the topic. Facebook becomes increasingly permeated by candidate support. Soon, that's the only thing most of us talk about at bars and over tea & crumpets, not that I have a damn clue just what is a "crumpet."

Perhaps, like political opinions, this is an inherited trait from my father. I've listened to him for years grumble about the amount of time a candidate has to campaign in an effort to secure his/her goal. He believes, as I believe, that presidential campaigning should be limited - by law - to a specific amount of time. Not that I personally can say what timeframe is best, and even to what extent campaign efforts ought to be prohibited. Still, I find myself wondering things like "doesn't he have a job to do" or "how better could we spend all the money wasted on those campaigns?"

Yes, I know I'm a lowly sheep, however wayward. Unlike the men and women running for various political offices, I don't "know" anything; I only have "ideas."Ideas are infinitely better than knowing, in my opinion. Ideas can be changed more easily, are more flexible and don't require the same level of commitment. They are quickly adaptable and open to suggestion. Yes, I have...ideas.

Not entirely applicable to my rant, but...

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