“Look at the tyranny of party — at what is called party allegiance, party loyalty — a snare invented by designing men for selfish purposes — and which turns voters into chattles, slaves, rabbits, and all the while their masters, and they themselves are shouting rubbish about liberty, independence, freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, honestly unconscious of the fantastic contradiction; and forgetting or ignoring that their fathers and the churches shouted the same blasphemies a generation earlier when they were closing their doors against the hunted slave, beating his handful of humane defenders with Bible texts and billies, and pocketing the insults and licking the shoes of his Southern master.” -Mark Twain, Mark Twain’s Autobiography
My state is a political battleground state for the upcoming mid-term elections. The levels of vitriol and character assassination have exceeded previous elections. For weeks, I have received letters denouncing one candidate. I hate answering the phone anyway since it’s usually bad news or a boring survey question. Now, agents for both Democratic and Republican candidates are calling almost everyday. I need November 4th to come most expeditiously! I want the theatrics and hyperbole to stop. It’s bad enough Internet and Cable news have become so polarized that there’s no such thing as objective news anymore, but the addition of a decisive election (sigh… and ebola) has thrown everything out of proportion.
I did accept one telephone survey recently. I know those survey workers work for peanuts and getting someone to answer them helps them out. Why not? I rarely do surveys on the telephone anyway. I didn’t expect to be answering for 15 minutes, though! Still, it was actually nice to tell someone my political opinions without fear of retribution. I think I surprised the worker given that I come from a Southern (i.e. stereotypical red, conservative Republican) state.
My new problem is the myriad of local and state candidates no one knows or cares about at all. Some political ads for these candidates are just now coming on television, but they tell me nothing (just like for the major candidates). “Judge X is endorsed by law enforcement and district attorneys!” Well, isn’t that true for most judges? “Judge Y is tough on crime.” What on earth does that mean? Does that mean life sentences and death penalties for people convicted of littering? It doesn’t help most of these candidates have paltry websites, usually Facebook or Google+ pages that tell me nothing other than “I exist! Vote for me!”
There really isn’t a party that reflects me or my values 100%. Choosing a party is like choosing a car. You choose the car with what you consider the best features, even if there are flaws or the other car has specific features you like as well. It’s possible I’ll change my mind, but, for now, it’s set. Now, I just want this election to be over so I can prepare for two years of incessant and annoying presidential campaigning.
Happy Halloween and may the Great Pumpkin visit your pumpkin patch!