03 November 2006

A pox on all their houses

As time goes on I am less and less inclined to vote. I suspect that the politicians like it that way, although I can't be sure. What is driving me away from my polling place is all the negative ads that run pretty much 24/7 during the final weeks of the campaign. Maybe I'm different from other voters, but I don't want to vote against someone, I want to vote for someone and these folks don't seem to give me a reason to vote for them, and every time I hear one of them say that he (or she) approves the preceeding annoying, manipulative, dishonest crap, I have less interest in voting for her (or him). I'm rarely home, so I just don't see that much TV, but whenever it's on, there's another ad that makes me feel like showering with Lysol.

There's a story in Maryland politics that the first time that Louis Goldstein ran for office (shortly before the Big Bang), he went door-to-door in his hometown, introduced himself to anyone who would answer and said that he was hoping he could count on their vote or something similar. Well, he started this early enough in the campaign season that the question he got most often was who was he running against? "I don't know," he say, "but I'm sure he's a real nice fella and would do a good job, but I think I'd do a better one." And he held office in Maryland for nearly 60 years.

I value my right to vote. I just more and more detest the people I'm required to squander that right on. In the community organizations I'm active in, elections are never this awful. People offer up their own qualifications and never say a word against the folks against whom they are running. It is a pleasure to vote for them.

The person who has annoyed me the most this campaign season has been Peter Franchot and he's running for Louis's old office - Comptroller. I think I'll write Louis's name in because there's no freaking way that I am voting the man who signed off on those ugly ads.

And then I get about a two-hour respite before the horrible ads begin for 2008. Ick.


Belinda said...

Very good point about the local elections being more civil. I think the crux of that is similar to the problem of internet trolls and abuse...distance.

Those local political opponents not only have to face each other in person to present their respective cases, but, in all liklihood, must peacefully co-exist in the community regardless of the outcome of the election. That would lead to at least assuming an attitude of civility, no?

Whereas, with increasing distance, you get an increasing "Us vs. Them" mentality. And you're right on the money: It stinks.

We're in the interesting position of not receiving local television channels, so we're living in Arkansas, but being exposed to the political advertising local to California, New Jersey, and New York.

Maureen said...

My husband opened the door to a Democrat volunteer who was going door to door in our neighborhood the other day. He made exactly this point to her - all we're seeing is these negative ads, with not one word about where the candidates stand on various issues. He started asking the volunteer what she could tell him about the candidates' stands; she either didn't know or was so taken aback at being asked that she couldn't answer. (Poor thing; nothing like my husband when he starts ranting. He's civil, but he does go on.)

Anonymous said...

I will quietly urge you to consider voting anyway. A sad fact is that many smear ads are designed solely for the purpose of driving down voter turnout while motivating your "core constituency" to vote. This enables small motivated groups to sneak past apathetic majorities, and as a result you get schools that teach creationism (among many, many other ills).

Vote. In keeping with your later post, I'd urge it to you as the right thing to do even if a particular instance might not be pleasant.


Lori said...

Yes Leta, please do vote! I'm not sure you're fully aware of the hell suffragettes were put through from the 1890s to 1910s in order to earn all women in the US the right to vote.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please see the HBO DVD "Iron Jawed Angels." When suffragettes were jailed at Occoquan in the 1910s for picketing outside the White House, they protested by not eating. In retaliation, their jailors force-fed them, not with IVs, but with funnels and hoses jammed way down their throats. Not only disgusting, but horribly dangerous.
To honor their bravery and accomplishments, please vote.