Monday, October 19, 1998

Week of 10/19/1998

Election Time Rants
- by David Matthews 2

Okay my fellow Americans, it’s the election season. That time when stuffy politicians come down off their lofty self-righteous positions and act like they really care about Joe and Jane Six-pack. The time when stupid commercials from the dysfunctional elite say "Vote for me, because I’m nothing like my incompetent opponent."

I also know that most eligible voters in America will do the stupidest thing in the world and not vote. Part of the reason will have to do with the time involved, but another will have to do with the candidates themselves. The campaigns have become dirtier than Pigpen at a Monster Truck rally in the middle of a sandstorm!

Folks, there is a reason why political campaigns have gotten dirtier and muddier than ever: THE POLITICIANS DON’T WANT YOU TO VOTE!

I’m serious. There is a direct correlation between dirty campaigning and political apathy. The dirtier the race, the fewer people that show up to vote. The new strategy for career politicians is this: since they already have their core group of voters, all they have to do is to make sure nobody else can show up with more votes against them. So they pick on the most arcane of past histories and the vaguest of reference points to use against their opponents. They use the most trivial of issues as their cause. And, of course, the other side does the same thing, because they know that such a dirty pool can dissuade the few remaining marginal voters who voted for the incumbent. They saturate the media with so much 100% pure methane that it becomes impossible to differentiate between one candidate or the other. The public gets disgusted, they assume the two parties are pathetic, whining children (which really isn’t far from the truth), and they stay home, leaving only the extremists who are loyal to the cause and have an agenda to push.

That’s how the game is played, folks! And you’re walking right into it when you decide that your vote doesn’t matter!

Isn’t it great to know you’re so gullible and predictable?

I have to laugh when I look at some of the bull that’s out there. I mean, the spin doctors and the political consultants really try to put one over on the voters. Let’s take a minute to look at some of the political tactics:

The "Would’ve Voted" Commercial - The commercial says that "Senator Dumbass voted NO for SB1234. Joe Blow says YES." So what else was in SB1234 to make Senator Dumbass vote no on it? Every single bill that’s presented to the legislature is chock full of pork and mealy-mouthed lawyer-speak that I don’t even think that the politicians themselves know half the time what’s in it. The spin doctors certainly don’t. Maybe SB1234 would’ve done the exact opposite of what it was intended to do. If that was the case, even if Dumbass voted for the bill, Joe Blow and his legion of spin doctors would’ve rode his ass for it and say that "Joe Blow says NO to SB1234." And then there’s the fact that, in many of these cases where this tactic is used, Joe Blow never held a public office in his life! How the hell would we know if Joe Blow would’ve voted for SB1234? Maybe he would’ve done the very thing Senator Dumbass did!

The Useless Words Hook - You know, I’m beginning to understand why politicians and political wannabes use catchwords like "family values" to death. It’s not that their opponents are against "family values," but rather they can’t say anything positive about what they’d do if elected!

So you’re a "family values" politician huh? Well, so supposedly was Adolph Hitler! What makes you any different?

The same goes out to the politicians who pride themselves on claiming to be "conservative." I mean, come on! Any politician that talks about changing the status quo is, by definition, NOT a conservative!

These are examples of useless words that the spin doctors and political consultants use to describe their candidates. But the problem is that they have been so used and abused that they no longer have any legitimate meaning. You might as well say one politician is "pro-spoon" rather than "pro-fork."

Guilt By Association - The new Republican campaign is a variation of the old "Are you now or have you ever been a Communist?" Theirs is "Do you now, or have you ever relied on Bill Clinton to campaign for you?"

The inference, of course, is that Bill Clinton is so politically toxic that any association with him means that candidate is just like Clinton. That includes the simple fact that Clinton represents the Democratic Party. So much for the "big tent" inference touted by both parties.

This tactic is not limited to scandalous unconstitutional presidents. Here in Georgia, the two leading candidates for lieutenant governor are campaigning on the meaningless "conservative, pro-family" stance, and are squabbling over who is associated to gay and lesbian groups. Mark Taylor claims Mitch Skandalakis used to associate himself with gay and lesbian groups to get elected on the Fulton County Commission. He did, but then, in true political fashion, stabbed them in the back. Skandalakis then countered by saying Taylor got an "endorsement" from the gay publication "Southern Voice." Which was true, but the endorsement was completely tongue-in-cheek, which means it wasn’t an endorsement at all. But try to explain that in a sound bite.

Using guilt by association is nothing more than a cheap tactic originally developed by lawyers to dispute damnable testimony, and perfected by politicians to further their careers.

When you look at this year’s political season, I hope every voter out there uses a very valuable tool. It’s not a "voters guide" or a cheap political slogan. What I want every voter in America to do is this - use your brains! That’s the most powerful tool you have against a politician. When all is said and done, politicians are nothing more than glitzy used car salesmen, and sometimes really bad ones at that. If they can’t sell it to you, they can’t control you.

Use your brains, people. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Reformist, Green, or even an American Communist. It doesn’t matter if you’re a conservative, liberal, libertarian, moderate, or autocrat. THINK about the choices out there.

Don’t let the politicians do your thinking for you.

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