4.11.08

Polling Place Ponderings

While waiting in line to vote, I turned my attention to the things I can't wait to be end with the election season. Three things in particular have been grinding my nerves over the past few weeks...

Claiming "this is the most historic election" ever...
You're only proving that you don't understand what "historic" means when you make claims like this. Stop being such a magpie; everyone knows you're just chirping what heard that on the news (which is more interested keeping you in the audience than keeping you properly informed). Something is either "having importance in or influence on history" or not; there is no graduated scale in the making of history, only in the way it is interpreted afterward. Every Presidential Election is equally historic. Every Election Day makes history. Even if we thought it was uneventful, it would still be historic because it's influencing history, one way or another. If you want to consider the voter turn-out a historic thing, that's fine -- but every voter turn-out before this was historic, too. Historic lows, historic highs... they're all recorded as public record and therefore part of the fabric of history. But, what's so ground-breaking about a US Presidential Election that boils down to one candidate from each of the two controlling parties, both of a Judeo-Christian faith? The choice isn't much different than it's ever been. It's good that you're voting, but keep things in perspective.

Implying that your vote counts more than mine because you're going to Grant Park tonight.
My vote counts just as much as yours; it always has and always will. But I don't create more waste with stickers, pamphlets or buttons; I don't lie that my middle name is Hussein or "donate my status" on Facebook (Why do some of you think assuming a fake name convinces me to vote for Obama, anyway? It doesn't make you the voice of reason you think you are. In fact, giving a false name may violate Facebook's terms of use); I don't consider my choice of candidate a status symbol -- it is our civic duty to vote, plain and simple. It's good that you voted, but you're not any more unique for it. If you secured tickets to gain entry to a public park for a speech tonight, good for you. I will have a better view from the comfort of my living room, and I won't be making the downtown area impassable for the people who traverse it every day. You are free to stand outside and clap for a jumbo-tron if you want. Just don't count your chickens before they hatch -- a lot of us thought Gore won eight years ago, but that's not how it played out.

Thinking it's a good idea to create election-themed advertising campaigns.
I work in advertising, and have been sick to my stomach with the inane "election" themes that have been pitched since before this time last year. Thankfully, not many made it to the public - but a lot of them did. Realize this is part of the reason people hate advertising: when you take something serious and belittle it to sell automobiles or donuts, you make us all look like idiots. You make people feel fatigued by the time election day comes, and dillute the power of real voting as though it were as inconsequential as picking the right soft drink in the supermarket, or as trivial as selecting the winner of a game show. I am happy it will be another four years before bad advertisers belittle our civic duties again, even though I know I have peers who will revisit those inane themes again and again and again.


3 comments:

bigsoda said...

Does that mean I shouldn't eat this Democrataco and Voterrito from Taco Bell?

PYLB said...

I wouldn't. You'll be making a run for the border in no time.

Duh Only said...

"I am happy it will be another four years before bad advertisers belittle our civic duties again"

I hope that's true and not overly optimistic but my fear is that the way things are now we'll be seeing election advertising again in about 24 months or so. Ugh.

I also like the point that you make that EVERY election is historic. Even GWB getting elected a second time was historic. It's just that it's the kind of historic event that many of us would now like to forget.