Saturday, September 8, 2007

let's not elect him; he has an annoying voice

Where I live there's a regional election brewing. For the sake of those who don't live here, we'll call the candidates Jones and Smith. Their platforms are quite different, especially on key questions.

Today while out for a walk, I stopped at a red light and overheard this conversation:

man: So who're ya gonna vote for?

woman: Well, I would vote for Jones because I agree with what he stands for, but I find his voice so annoying. I'm REALLY tired of hearing him on the news, so I'm going to vote for Smith.

man: [not sounding surprised or shocked] hmmm... yeah, his voice IS annoying.

I was somewhat horrified by this conversation--people choosing their elected leader because of the way he sounds!!!--until I thought about these two things:

1. the infamous Nixon-Kennedy presidential debate. Those who listened on the radio believed both candidates had done well; those who watched it on TV believed overwhelmingly that Kennedy had won. Appearance and other superficial factors have mattered more than substance ever since the media enabled the public to see them.

2. Oprah's foray into the political world. Today's she's holding her first ever presidential fundraiser, for Barack Obama. So all those millions of housewives (sorry, no offense, but it seems that 99% of the people who watch Oprah are housewives) may just follow her like lemmings, as they do with all of her book choices. Who cares what the candidate stands for? Oprah says he's great.

Boo. I used to work in politics but left it for these kinds of reasons. This is why our elected leaders are so bad.



SunnyShine note: At the very least she knows what the issues are. Incomprehensible that she would vote for a voice even though she likes the other guy. I actually have more problems with people who don't bother to vote in the first place and then complain about the government. Everyone goes on about how great democracy is but how many people actually take the time to vote. The US is not a democracy. Trust. Oprah choosing to support Obama is not surprising either. Perhaps the millions who watch her will start to take more interest in the election and make an informed decision about who to vote for. Perhaps they will actually vote. George Bush is on his second term - I can believe anything now. In Australia and Belgium, voting is mandatory. Discuss amongst yourselves.

RainyBow note: We live in a city of immigrants and I love hearing stories from the people I meet from all over the world. This is partly because my own parents have great immigrant stories, but also because people who come here for a better life and don't take all of the great bits of this country for granted fascinate me. So many immigrants think of voting as an enormous responsibility, and I think they make up a huge proportion of our voting population. This raises two big questions for me: first, what does that say about all of the fifth and fourteenth generation citizens who leave the important decisions about their country to people who just arrived, and second, does legislated mandatory voting do more harm that good, since so many of us don't properly inform ourselves on the issues?

I can't answer either one of these questions definitively, but I do enjoy the debate.

No comments: