Thursday, September 1, 2016
It’s obvious that each new presidential election lasts longer and becomes more expensive to run. This means, in part, greater importance as each party attempts to sell their product to the consumer. It used to be the job of Madison Avenue, but now with television in and in the forefront, it’s becomes the sophistication and expertise of Hollywood talents to sell and to persuade. Don’t forget the important role of radio, newspapers, and now social media in our democratic political process. The GOP more dominant on the local level has brilliantly chosen a television personality as its leader. Name recognition, the personification of wealth, power, and strength fit here. This candidate as compared to his opponent has spent little so far. His name and things that he has said have dominated the news cycle at every level. Not only that, the media gives us so-called experts that explain his policies, what he thinks, what he believes and his motivations. It’s only their paid and prejudiced opinion and nothing more .The candidates don’t even have to show up because the media easily finds people to talk about them in both positive and negative ways. So let’s take the voter. The percentage of eligible voters that vote in a local or national election is disappointing but understandable. Locally, we may get a glossy mailer that provides little information about the candidate. We can no longer tell by the endorsement whether the person supposedly leans left or leans right. However, sometimes the party or some other insignificant word influences our vote. Does this person represent our opinion, our values, our beliefs and/or wishes? Who knows! By the time we get to vote for the governor, more information is provided about the candidate. But once again, does the person we are voting for really represent us on a personal level? In our democracy, this representative is supposed to represent us, but in reality, are we really rational and knowledgeable about the politics and policies of the day? In voting for the president, we’re likely more in the dark and uneducated about global economics, foreign-policy, immigration, domestic policy, etc. even though we get bits and pieces about each. Policies that may turn out good for California, may turn out bad for Mississippi and so forth. In essence, it’s easy to understand why a voter is alienated and may not turn out to vote because does that vote really matter? For sure, it matters to someone or to some Party. For those that do vote, it seems that they don’t always vote for their best interests. Generally, voters don’t expend massive amounts of energy in the analysis of subjects and issues with their limited expertise or knowledge. The issues may be too complicated to begin with, and the voter lacking the volition to put in the necessary energy. Then we have a psychological dynamic, called cognitive dissonance. Essentially, we tend to be more receptive to the things we believe and less receptive to things we don’t. We likely don’t spend an equal amount of time listening, viewing or reading opposing sides of the issues. Even if we did, television, radio etc. cannot provide all the in-depth answers to the issues. Even if we watched the debates, how much depth can there be in a minute or two response to a question? In essence, our vote becomes less rational and not always based on fact. In part because the candidates do not always objectively present the facts. Not only that, we are alienated in the political process. And some might say, it doesn’t matter whom gets elected. You can’t believe that because corporations and wealthy donors give readily. Their contributions are not based on altruistic ideas, but instead on self-serving economic realities. Yes, Bernie Sanders, people gave an average of $27 for his nomination. Some might argue that he came close, but not close enough. Money greatly matters today. Even though we have a unique and unlimited capacity for thinking and having contradictory thoughts and ideas, without even making minimal attempts to become aware of the contradictions; can anyone vote smart?