Letter: Look behind the marketing
To the editor:
This has been a discouraging election year.
Political elections have always been popularity contexts. But in the olden times, the political conversation seemed to have more to do with what actually makes or breaks us as a nation. Lincoln had a squeaky voice. Roosevelt was in a wheelchair. It wasn’t what made the news.
I remember the big to-do in the seventies about Jimmy Carter’s sweater. He gave a fireside chat on TV, and he didn’t wear a business suit. The next day, the political commentators weren’t talking about Jimmy Carter’s programs. They were talking about his sweater.
We have grown accustomed to marketing as news. Everything the candidates actually say is wrapped up in how they said it, to whom, for what political purpose, and how it played. And the assumption is that this is what we are interested in.
We are being treated like a dumb electorate. We are addressed as if we have no memories about what the candidate said a few months or weeks ago, and no brains to compare it to what is being said today, and no hearts to care about what it means. They talk to us as if we have so little interest in solving the problems of our nation, and our world – or so little hope that we can – that we prefer to be diverted by about goofy phrases and faux pas.
This is a hard election to get up and go for. But I am working up to it. It may be playing like a football game, complete with million dollar advertising spots and half-time extravaganzas, but its effects are more far-reaching.
Let’s look behind the marketing. Whomever we vote in this November may touch every aspect of our lives for as long as we live.