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To the Americans in the Audience

Okay, so CNN has a page here (Campaign Explorer) where you can see how much each of the presidential campaigns have spent, nationally and state-by-state. My sympathies to those of you in the battleground states. Here in Vermont, Obama has spent 0 dollars. Romney has spent 0 dollars. Of course we share television coverage with New Hampshire (5.46 million dollars Obama, 1.27 million Romney) so we are not campaign ad virgins, but still, I love living in a state that doesn't actively attract all than nonsense, because really, you guys, are any of you guys a dim enough bulb to base your vote on what you saw in one of those ads? I know people do, that they say the Willie Horton ad [Wikipedia article here] was a watershed. But you guys are all smarter than that, I know. You look at all the issues, and make up your minds based on facts and clearly stated positions, not emotional flim-flam, right?

I'm only going to say this once, people.

VOTE!


or loose your right to complain for the next 4 years.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
amenirdis
Nov. 4th, 2012 12:59 pm (UTC)
Already voted in early voting! Check!
thothmes
Nov. 5th, 2012 09:07 pm (UTC)
Yay you. Early voting is available here, but since it involves heading up to the Town Hall and bugging the Town Clerk, and the results are the same (with only some 900 people in town, not all of whom are eligible to vote we don't have a problem with long lines, etc.), so Beloved Husband and I will vote tomorrow. One of the beautiful things about small town Vermont democracy is that kids really get to see how it works on a small scale. They see the massive effort that the adults make to attend Town Meeting, and the importance they place on serving in elected offices in town. They see how every vote really does matter. Both my kids will vote tomorrow too, and when they do it will not necessarily be just because we brought them up right, but more because their community brought them up right.

Back in the days of Bush-Gore one of my daughter's friends had a mother who lived in Florida following a remarriage. The mother called, distraught, to say that she had not bothered to vote because she thought her vote would not make a difference, and she was kind of busy that day. We've always made it a priority not to be busy on that day. Every few years my husband's employer comes to him and asks him to change his day off from Tuesday to another day, because it makes provider scheduling easier for them. He always turns them down. We vote on Tuesday. Town Meeting is on Tuesday. Piano Lessons are on Tuesday (the one activity in the week where I don't have to be the chauffeur). No thanks. He'll work the evening hours they want him to work, he'll work Saturdays when they have difficulty getting nurses to work because he thinks the patients need some weekend hours available, but he won't work Tuesdays.

Icon is in honor of your early voting!
campylobacter
Nov. 5th, 2012 11:37 am (UTC)
It upsets me that the money spent on campaigning usually exceeds the money needed to balance state & local budget shortfalls.
thothmes
Nov. 5th, 2012 05:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, the whole subject of money in politics in this country is very upsetting. We need to find a sane, limited way to finance campaigns that does not rely on corporations (who are NOT people), PACs, and plutocrats. The amount being spent around this country on campaigning is staggering and out of control.

The sad thing is that I can remember people saying the same thing when I was a kid, and still it hasn't changed, indeed it's gotten worse. Citizens United was a disastrous decision in practical terms, regardless of what can be said about it in matters of law.

All this is a convoluted way of saying, "Oh boy, do I hear you!" by way of preaching as hard as I can to the converted.

Sad to say, I really only think it will change when there is a massive popular groundswell of demand for change in the way things are done, and given the other grave issues before us, I'm not holding my breath.
campylobacter
Nov. 5th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
OBSCENE GOBS OF MONEY FOR POLITICAL ADS
California needs $16 billion to balance the budget, which will provide underprivileged kids meals, keep school teachers employed, care for seniors in their own homes, protect the mentally ill, ensure college kids can afford to stay in school, etc. etc. etc. Meanwhile, TV stations are enjoying a windfall of obscene gobs of money for political advertising from unknown "donors". Which are no doubt media companies themselves, if we could actually track who these donors are.

UGH Citizens United. They called me the other day trying to get me to give $$ to fund a "documentary" to show swing voters in battleground states. I told them I'd rather give $ to my local food bank. The dude said that funding their documentary will help my fellow Americans the same way. Um. WHAT.

And we still won't dump or reform the Electoral College, which is... oh, don't get me started.

WHY DO AMERICANS THROW THEIR MONEY AWAY ON STUPID CRAP instead of helping each other?
thothmes
Nov. 5th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
Re: OBSCENE GOBS OF MONEY FOR POLITICAL ADS
Because we are so stupidly polarized. I heard a heartbreaking piece on NPR yesterday about friendships and family relationships that are ending because two people are on the opposite side of the red-blue divide.

There was the couple who would let their daughter live room and board free at home while she went to grad school, but only if she voted Romney.

There was the husband who told his brother-in-law (the two men married sisters) that if he voted for the other side (I don't remember which side he was on) that said that his brother-in-law would not be disinvited to family barbecues, but he will not be allowed to eat the food. He'll have to bring and cook his own.

A pair of sisters, once close, have refused to speak to each other at all. The conservative sister says that she views liberals as essentially selfish, because they want government to take care of the poor instead of wading in and helping the poor themselves, and this makes her furious at her sister because she knows that her sister is not selfish, so how can she be so selfish in her vote?

We are, as a nation, deeply polarized, and each side views the other as not just wrong, but disastrously, world-endingly wrong. This means that people are willing to put vast resources into defeating "the enemy".

Yeah. It's stupid. Yeah, it's wrong. We need to relearn the importance of compromise. It's time for us to relearn that if both extremes think a bargain stinks, it probably is the right thing to do, because it's a compromise. Right now compromise is a dirty word.

Learn from history people: We once knew that if we don't hang together we will all hang separately. Until we do learn this, we will continue to squander resources that are vital for building this country and solving our problems in hot air and noise!
misswelles
Nov. 5th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
As someone from the UK it always amazes me just how much money is spent on the campaigns and where this money comes from. Wouldn't that money be better spent on the economy itself and not advertising for votes?

Saying that I don't know whether its just being on LJ or whether the US elections are getting more and more media attention on a Global level, it seems that so many countries not just the US are waiting with baited breath to see what happens. I've listened to the debates and I will be watching on 6th November on whatever coverage is available here.

Think I have more interest now in US politics than the politics happening in my own country!
thothmes
Nov. 5th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
Well, the fact of the matter is that right now America is the 600 lb. gorilla in the international livingroom. In my opinion it isn't particularly in our national interest to encourage American hubris like that, but for right now, that's the way it is.

Of course we would all be better off if we were not spending billions on political races, and put that money into infrastructure and education, just to mention a couple of options. If we don't get a handle on the money in politics, we stand a good chance of becoming a plutocracy, and our experiment in democracy will not live up to its potential, if it even survives. It's an issue that really scares me.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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