I figure you all could probably check out the pictures to the right if you’re looking for your cat fix. In the meantime, I’ll talk about the incredible ability of politicians to improperly speak their mind.
The incredible knack that all politicians have these days of saying stupid things got me to wondering: is this a new pandemic, or has it been a problem for a long time?
Now, I’ll grant you that the politicians can’t go five minutes these days without having a microphone or camera recording their every move and statement. But at the same time, they’ve had handlers who’ve performed focus group studies and have honed the candidates’ messages to select words and specific talking points. So certainly, you’d think that one balances out the other.
Or does it? Is the human capacity to say what they mean lower than the capacity to say what they should be saying? I’d think that politicians, in stump speeches, town hall meetings, and whatever other appearances they’ve made throughout history would have produced a huge number of gaffes through the years. I mean surely, Abe Lincoln at some point said something that was truly stupid, right? After all, all politicians are human, right?
While that means that they’re naturally prone to making mistakes, it also means that politicians should be smart enough to not say the stupid things they say off the cuff. And certainly, you’d think that most of them are pretty smart if they’ve made it so far in their careers that they’re at least in the middle of some campaign that has even a sliver of national media coverage.
So could it be that maybe there’s an over-saturation of the media airwaves and internet with politicians and what they say about every issue from abortion to the economy to what color underwear they wear? And by the same token, could it possibly be the case that there are far too many people aggregating the gaffes and analyzing every individual word they’re saying?
Absolutely. But that doesn’t hold them harmless, either. Statements like Romney’s at the fundraiser about the 47% are simply stupid, even if you think you’re speaking to an entirely friendly crowd. Because there are cases where regardless of the individual words used , the actual meaning behind the statements is what’s important.
So that means that I think it’s absolutely fair to say that Obama does not have any faith in the role of the wealthy in the economy, and that Romney has none in the working classes. I think it’s absolutely fair to say that Republicans don’t embrace equality and fairness, but at the same time Democrats hold to some of their social beliefs even when some of those beliefs aren’t pragmatic. It’s clear that some Republicans are somehow terrified of various forms of sex and some Democrats don’t understand and are intimidated by religious faith and beliefs.
What the problem becomes is that elections are more and more a snapshot of voter sentiment at a specific moment in time, instead of being a statement of policy and direction for the nation as a whole. The rhetoric of political statements by candidates has become oversimplified and more and more voters believe things without knowing why they believe them.
For example: Romney and the Republicans will hold fast to their devotion to trickle-down economics without actually explaining how they believe it works. I think if it were actually explained, most people wouldn’t get it. But at the same time, Democrats aren’t explaining why there’s a need for some sort of national health care system, and why more taxes and social programs are necessary.
So however the election comes out in two weeks, I’m afraid we’ll continue to have government that is increasingly built on fear and misunderstanding instead of actual ideals and rationale.
See you tomorrow.