Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Who Wins?

There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.

James Thurber
When we go to a play or watch a movie or a TV show we aren't aware of the extremely bright lights that are trained on the performers. The actor is facing into a glare of lights to which his eyes have to become accustomed. From the stage the off stage area looks pitch black. Because his eyes have become accustomed, he can live and move through the scenery and the story without squinting. Without those lights we would be unable to see the action on stage. We would not become involved in it. But if those lights were turned toward the audience the glare would also be too bright to see the action. The actors perform in the glare and we see the reflected light, the glow.

For the past many weeks we have been submitted to the glare of venomous political campaign ads on television. It's enough to make you squint. All the raging, finger pointing and name calling has been like bright glaring lights turned on us. And those ads have done nothing but obscure the real action. I hope and believe they were ignored, as much as they could be, by intelligent, thinking people.

The real drama taking place has nothing to do with any of those miscreant offerings. The real story is about what the ins have done for America in clear, factual terms and how they wish to continue and improve, and what the outs plan and hope to do for America in clear, factual terms. It is difficult to see that glowing through the glaring of nastiness that has characterized this campaign. We'll see and hear more of it in the various acceptance speeches, I think.

We've been urged to vote, vote, vote. But a lot of people don't know who or what they're voting for. Elections should be done by an informed electorate. But no one is informed by the glare of loud, flashing and, too often, spurious TV ads.

When I lived in New York City and went to vote I found a ballot as long as my arm. Not only were there folks running for every office, council, committee and judgeship imaginable, but there was also a big brace of different political parties to choose from, and at the bottom a bunch of confusing initiatives. Without knowing who and what I was in favor of I would have been lost. During the Carter/Ford presidential election day I stood in line for an hour and a half to vote because too many people went into the booth and couldn't make up their minds about one local candidate or another. Instead of shouting "Vote, Vote" responsible people in charge should be saying "Learn, Learn."

What are the issues? Does a candidate really understand them? Where do they stand (or fall) on them? What provisions do they have in mind? What vision do they have? What new ideas are they ready to present and support?

I realize I am writing after the fact, but that doesn't matter. The uninformed voter is endemic to our society and archetypical of all humans I suppose. Too many people express opinions with no knowledge or experience to back them up. The fact that we persist in surviving is a manifestation of something else, I guess. The horrifying thought that maybe it doesn't matter. Does anyone really have their finger in the dike? Is it some natural law or divine decision that we keep on living? Is government, hence politics, just another game humans play while the Earth keeps rotating? And if so, who cares? To some people the fact that the Giants won the World Series is a more important outcome than who won the senatorial race in California. Are they wrong?

DB - The Lord High Vagabond

(This is not a contest.)

At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?

Only 6 responses so far.

Thank you.


Big Mark 243 said...

I used to have a book of James Thurber stories around... yes, this post is after the fact but it is still relevant. Gives people the answer to why things haven't gotten better for them and why certain folks have see things improve.

Just Bill said...

Dana, you seem displeased with our election system or is it with igmorant voters. Noticed you did not really give any suggestions as how it could be improved.
Of course voter edcuation and understanding in order to improve the quality of their vote.Perhaps an IQ limit or basis could be used, or an intellicence test.
That would probably eliminate a hugh numers of electors. I do believe that the Constitution guarantees every individual the right to vote for elected officials.
I agree that the ballots are often long and confusing especially the proposals. Suspect a lot of voters do not vote on them since they do not understand and those who have a specail interest are more likely to vote.
perhaps it isn't the best possib;e system but I can live with until some one can improve it which isn's likely to happen. Bill

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

With the advent of websites, it is much easier to become informed on our candidates, all it takes is some time and effort.

DB said...

No, Bill, no inteligence test is needed, It's not the inteligence level of people I am discussing here, it's the ignorance level. People who don't know voting for people they don't know except through harmful media exposure.

Yes Ken it is easy to find out what the candidates stand for but how many people actually do it. That's the question.


krissy knox said...

I agree w you on this one, dana. I tweeted about this subject the day before the election. I said that someone should not vote just "to exercise their right to vote." That doesn't mean, by any stretch of the imagination that they shouldn't vote. That means that they should GET informed. Nobody is asking, as Bill is implying, that one should get an IQ test, or that there should be an IQ limit! That is pretty ludicrous, LOL. You are a defender of our Constitutional right which allows each citizen the right to vote, no doubt, as am I. Bill stated that you stated no solutions, but I believe you did -- the solution would be for each voter to educate himself before he went to vote! Don't just vote to vote, be an INFORMED voter!

Now, as far as your question, does voting and politics REALLY matter, the answer is yes! The world will go on anyway, but we DO, at least to an extent, have a way as to how it will! Because others choose to not go vote on election night, but instead choose to watch football or some mindless sitcom does not mean that we did not achieve grand things last night in taking part in perhaps changing the world! Anything we do to change the world, including praying, has at least SOME effect on it. So we must do what we can do, when and where we can, with as little ignorance as we can, keeping ourselves as informed as we can. And while doing so, let's be as positive as we can -- for together we can change the world! :)

my main blog:
Sometimes I Think
let's connect on Twitter:
how about friends on FB?