Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Apathy Man to the Rescue on Super Tuesday

Yesterday’s San Diego Union Tribune (a newspaper which is sliding inexorably downhill at an ever increasing rate) had an editorial cartoon which really got my attention and made me stop and think.

It seems as though we have been in the most insane political “season” that I can recall ever since the mid-term election. It’s been non-stop posturing, debating and spending. All of this to the point where so many of us reached our saturation level long ago and wish only for it all to go away.

Anyway, before I take off into my rant, I wanted to share the cartoon with you. This is from R.McKee at The Augusta Chronicle on March 2:

Yep, it’s “Super Tuesday”, a supposedly pivotal date in Presidential Primary season. I love this cartoon suggesting that somehow or another we should be paying attention and become actively engaged. But why on God’s green earth would any of us want to participate in this insanity and inanity?

Apathy Man. What an apt description. But one has to wonder—what caused it? Is it that we just don’t care? Is it that we’ve been beaten down by the incessant “nattering nabobs of negativism” (remember that fromSpiro Agnew?) who day after day after day come up with some piece of minutiae to waggle in the face of an opponent and the public?

We constantly hear about SuperPacs and we cringe and grow numb. We don’t know where the money comes from exactly but we suspect it is from sources that we don’t trust. So why then, are we apathetic?

Primaries and caucuses have traditionally been the venue for the “party faithful”. They’re supposed to be an exercise in which the candidate proves his or her credentials and worthiness—and ultimately electability. They used to be occasions for candidates to get out into the “hustings” and communicate directly with small groups of voters in a give and take which crystallized positions and clarified issues. But no more.

It’s like the internet where one is inundated with a constant barrage of crap. I went to a job search site the other day and got an e-mail this morning from them bluntly asking why I haven’t paid for their service. Geesh, because it’s a free site, that’s why. And that’s what happens on the political front. I had the temerity to “sign up” at a site promoting Obama and now I get solicitations each day for money.

It used to be that we had some sort of sense that our point of view and our vote counted for something. There are those who, like this cartoon, lament the apathy of voters and point to that as a signal that voters are either satisfied or just too ambivalent to do anything other than accept all the garbage that is being pewed forth. And this becomes a justification for all the garbage that’s dumped on us through various media sources.

It’s not that at all. We’re numb. We’re beaten down. We’re tired of it already and we’ve got to go until the first Tuesday in November.

Sometimes I wonder though, maybe “they” (whoever “they” are) want it this way. If enough of us get sick and damned tired of all the garbage then perhaps “they” (whoever “they” are) win. See, if we become apathetic then those who aren’t apathetic get their voices magnified. That means people like the “teabaggers” get a stronger voice. (By the way I always use the word teabagger—uncapitalized—because I refuse to refer to those folks as a “party” of any sort. Using the word “party” legitimizes them and I won’t do that).

It’s a technique that has been used pretty effectively in the past. What we need to do is just to
sit back in the weeds. Observe. Think. Talk to each other. And then at election time, kick the bastards to the side of the road. I’m tired of the crap. I’m more disgusted now than ever before in my adult and political life—and that includes Watergate and Bush the Younger.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though anyone gives a fat damn about what people like me think. And between now and November it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.

And now, Sen. McCain is advocating that we bomb Syria. President Obama is trying to mollify Israel with veiled promises that if necessary, the U.S. will bomb Iran. Legislatures are trying to force women into invasive procedures to be “eligible” to have an abortion and state and local
revenues aren’t covering the costs of services.

We’re numb. We’re overwhelmed. And we know that ultimately we’re the ones who will have to pay the price. Not some politician who’s trying to coerce us to vote for him.

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