Drive around Tucson these days and your visual sense will be bombarded at virtually every intersection. Political signs have popped up on every corner, like mushrooms in the rainy season. Personally, I’m offended someone is betting that placing a candidate’s name in red, white and blue lettering on a street corner is all it will take to sway my vote in their favor. How little they must think of the electorate, and of myself in particular:
“Heck, I’s wishin’ I knew who and whut I’s s’posed ta be a-votin’ fer…Hey! Whut’s that a-yonder?…A sign! Ima Bigget for School Superintendent. Now there’s someone usin’ their noggin; puttin’ their name on a sign and all. Her’s got my vote!”
Or is it recognition through attrition? As I stand in the voting booth: “Heck, I don’t know who ta vote fer county sheriff…hold on! This feller Will Blunder sounds familiar. Where’d I see that name duzzens and duzzens o’ times afore?…can’t rightly recall. Oh, well, must be someone special. Him’s got my vote; sure hope he wins.”
It’s even more strange that these signs are all clumped together, often thirty or more in all, and each use the same color schemes; if I’m so dumb, how am I expected to be able to focus on just one colorful name in a sea of names in red, white and blue?
Let’s assume for a moment that there is some benefit to bombarding the electorate with signs; in other words, we are that stupid. Now there is a tendency in television advertising to focus solely on the “shortcomings” of one’s opponent, to the extent that only their name and face appear in the ad along with their horrifying indiscretions and fascist inclinations. This seems counter-intuitive by historical standards of advertising; if Coke wants to sell more Coke, do they only show images of Pepsi? By the same logic that dictates I vote by virtue of name recognition, doesn’t it stand to figure that I’ll vote for the opponent featured in the commercial? After all, their name and face is the only one I see over and over again, and I am really, really stupid…
The whole process is messed up. I don’t presume to have the answers, but one thing is certain: Political strategists are confident that much of the voting public are really that stupid and that years of polling and statistical analysis bear that out. For those of us who feel we are intelligent and not easily distracted by shiny things and pretty colors, how many of us can honestly say we are informed and knowledgeable when it comes to candidates and propositions? Blind adherence to party platforms is not knowledge, and the information that comes our way is invariably tainted and skewed. Is an uninformed vote better than no vote at all? I’m sorry, but that answer is unequivocally no. It really is why the party system exists, isn’t it? So that someone who represents our feelings on one or more central issues can tell us how to vote on each of them?
I have no party affiliation, because I have a functioning brain; I am too intelligent to embrace or condemn all the tenets of any one party. You are an idiot, or at the very least pathetic, if you do. I am a proud Greentealiberpublicommucrat. If you want my vote, you’ll have to do one or more of the following:
1) Extol your own virtues. Do not speak poorly of the other candidate. In fact, say something nice about him; if he is good, but you claim to be the better choice, doesn’t that make you great by comparison? Telling me that your opponent is Satan’s spawn and that voting for him will hasten the decline of civilization does nothing to convince me you’ll be any better.
2) Show me you can work well with others. Promise me you’ll work for solutions, with elected officials from other parties and for the public good. If you vote purely for the sake of stalemate and opposition, you are not doing your job and you suck.
3) Work for Me. If I vote for you, I expect you to work for me, and by me I mean me. I want one of those golf trips to Aruba from those lobbyists who ply you with goodies; I want a chunk of the kickback from that mafia-owned construction company you got the building contract for; I want the same pay raise you vote for yourself; I want the same health benefits you get.
I’m not likely to get any of these things from any candidate; since I know that’s true, no one gets my vote based on merit. Some may get my vote because it’s clear their opponent is a horrible human being; there are several whom I consider the lesser of two evils. Most, however, will get no vote, for as I stated before, an uninformed vote is worse than no vote at all.