You’ll have to forgive me. I’m in a bit of a cranky mood this week, and I need to blow off some steam.
I can summarize the issues that have influenced my frame of mind in two words: “Christmas” and “Politics.”
Earlier this week, we had our first “time to start planning for Christmas” conversation, and I can already feel the holiday stress levels building. Presents. Travel. Meals. More presents. Parties. Holiday shopping. Trinkets. More presents. Indoor decorations. Outdoor decorations. More parties. Special programs. More presents. More shopping. More. More. More.
It just drives me nuts.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of setting aside a time to remember the first advent of Jesus and to anticipate His second coming. And a major national holiday like this one offers an ideal time to get together with family members that I don’t otherwise get to see that often. But the increasingly complex maze of social obligations and expectations that have come to surround this holiday (to the delight, I might add, of the multi-million dollar Christmas industry) makes me pull my hair out.
Now…on to being a Grinch about the second subject:
I’ve had it with low-ball political attack ads that attempt to smear and distort.
I know. I know. They’re on the air because they work. Lets face a very grim and unfortunate reality here: most of the political game these days doesn’t involve convincing anybody that your policies are the best ones for the state or the country. Instead, the game involves getting people who already agree with you sufficiently motivated to go to the polls and, conversely, discouraging everyone else so that they stay home.
And is there any doubt that – right or left wing – the primary tool to motivate people to political action these days is anger?
The more anger, the better. Thus, the messages go like this (or, at least, make these implications): “They’ll raise your taxes!” “They’ll take your social security check!” “They won’t respond to terrorism appropriately, and put us all in danger!” “They’ll wipe out the environment!” “They’ll encourage gay and lesbian relationships!”
And on and on it goes.
The accusations are almost always overly simplified, distorted, and spun for maximum effect. The object: make everyone who agrees with you so angry at your opponent that they’ll run right out and vote for you. As a side benefit, some of the opponent’s supporters, discouraged by the new information about their candidate, may stay home on November 2.
I don’t want to vote for someone becuase I’m angry at what the other guy might do. I want to vote for someone because they represent my ideals and values in life, and because I hope that those ideals and values can be translated into good public policy. But its hard to believe that anyone can be trusted to do that – even if they say they will – when they sell themselves out to the spinsters and smear-mongers of the political media industry.
I’ll say it again: Bah. Humbug.
How many days until December 26?
I need an Advil.