Monday, November 1, 2010

The Reality TV Show that is American Politics

by Jen AlLee

Tomorrow is election day in the USA, but I participated in early voting. It was pretty cool, being able to trot into Vons and vote, then pick up bread, bananas, and yogurt. But I have a confession to make... I voted for a man not because of his qualifications, but because I liked his name.

How sad is that? There's a reason for it, of course... I am totally and completely fed up with the political system. 

Here in Vegas we've been bombarded by political ads. It's probably no worse here than in the rest of the country, but since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hails from Nevada, there's a lot riding on his re-election or ousting, whichever the case may be. Because of this, the barrage of smear ads has been unrelenting. Over and over again, we are told why each candidate is bad. Very few ads tell us why the candidate who sponsored it is good. Such is the nature of politics. It seems we are left not picking the  best person for the job, but picking the lesser of two evils.

Which leads me to my confession. I felt it was important to vote this year, to take part in the process. Unfortunately, I was ill prepared to make my choices when I stepped up to the voting kiosk. Not for lack of trying, mind you. I listened to what the candidates had to say, watched debates, heard news commentators, read articles... and I probably sacrificed about ten hours of my life watching those ridiculous political ads. But none of it helped. In fact, it just made things worse. Because I finally acknowledged something that's been true for awhile... politics has become one big reality TV show.

Who gets the most attention these days? The most charismatic candidates. Or the most outrageous. Whoever makes for good TV is going to get airtime. And those political ads? They are designed to tweak your emotions. Not only that, but they take statements out of context and twist the truth to suit their own purposes. By mid-October, I was at the point where I didn't trust a single one of them. I don't believe anything any of them are telling me!

So when I got to the place on the ballot where I really didn't know anything about either candidate, I looked at their names. I mean, if I can't believe what the politicians tell me, then judging them based on how their names sound is as good a method as any. Kind of like picking which horse will win a race. If you have the choice between "Greased Lighting" and "Next Stop the Glue Factory" which would you choose?

My choice for Nevada State Treasurer was Steve Martin. Yep, that's really his name. And since I'm a fan of Steve Martin the actor, I figured I should give Steve Martin the politician a chance.

Thankfully, I've found out more about Mr. Martin since casting my vote. I'm happy to say, I would have voted for him anyway. Whether he wins or not remains to be seen, but at least I've done my part. I'm not going to say who I voted for in that controversial senate race. Honestly, I'm not crazy about any of our choices. I just hope that whoever comes out on top will step back for a minute and think about what's best for the country as a whole. Not for their particular party, not for their individual career, but for the entire country.

After tomorrow, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The political ads will be over!

Uh oh... how long do you think it will take before they start airing ads for the 2012 elections? I wonder if anyone named Marin Short will be on the ballot...


  1. Oh, Jen, great post. I get so fed up with politics. My husband wanted to research the election so I started keeping all the junk mail ad campaigns. When he went through them, they were totally worthless. He couldn't tell what anyone actually stood for.

    One good thing I've learned though, you can just skip a category if you don't know anything about it. Your votes for the other offices will still count. Now if you don't know who you want for any of the offices...

  2. Dina, this year there was actually an option under the list of senate candidates that was "None of these". It's pretty sad when none-of-the-above is running for office!

  3. Check out .

    While Rep. Eric Cantor will probaby gain his seat again, I'm done voting for him. Never again. He says one thing then votes another way. I'd rather a politician vote totally against my views but be open about it, then to be a Cantor.

    Funny thing is I told my oldest son, "Whatever you do, don't tell Mikey that I'm voting against his dad." They're in the same AP USH class.

    Jen, you're sooo on the money when you talk about how sad it is when None of the Above could win an election.

  4. I will be so glad when tomorrow is over. The thing I'm sickest of is the recorded phone calls. Yesterday I received four in under two hours.

    I'm jealous that Jen can vote at Vons. That beats the school cafeteria where I go. At our last house, we voted at a neighbor's house and they plied us with donuts. My kids loved voting day!

  5. I'm not making political statements, as the Hatch Act forbids me from doing so, and speaking of names bring sup this issue in Illinoie. The man's name is Rich Whitney. Unfortunately--or on purpose?--the ballot is missing a letter in certain ethnic districts, so his name reads as

    Rich Whitey.

    I can't help but laugh and laugh over this, though I feel a bit sorry for him. Will it cost him votes?

  6. I cannot wait to get a reprieve from the political ads. I've taken to muting them all, even ones for 'my side.' I just hate the misinformation and pandering. Not to mention the poor scripting and the dirty feeling after hearing them. Seriously, it's as bad as watching a Girl's Gone Wild commercial.

    Only a few more hours...

  7. Now that I've stopped laughing about Laurie's comment. (That is RICH! No pun intended.)
    Besides the fact my daughter found the word "constitution" misspelled on her mail-in ballot, this election has been yet another exercise in junior high popularity tactics. Yuck.
    I voted for a Democrat for governor of Colorado simply because he ran a clean campaign. No negative ads, no finger-pointing, no name-calling. As he put it, he ran on what he is FOR, not who he's against.
    You know what? It worked. He won.
    Now if the church would figure that out.


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