I now am about to be part of the problem I am complaining about – the obsession with partisan political campaigns with their incessant spins, inconsequential surveys and polls, endless intentionally misleading ads – this far in advance of the actual election.
I did watch the Republican Presidential debate last week. I enjoyed it and found it very helpful and informative. I was so entertained that I decided that all the debating candidates deserved a prize. Since I intentionally did not watch any post-debate talking heads, I created and awarded them relying on my own judgment – as limited and biased as it may be. I awarded the following prizes:
- MOST SENSIBLE AND MATURE
- BEST BBQ GUEST
- CUTEST HOMECOMING KING
- MOST POTENTIAL
- BEST BEDSIDE MANNER
- BEST BRIDGE SALESMAN
- MOST PLEASANTLY ABSURD
- BEST AT BLOVIATING
I am not going tell you to whom I awarded which prize. You can make your own call.
Now, let me complain. It is nearly a week later and I still can’t watch or listen to any news or talk shows without continually having the debate relived. Why? Who cares? It doesn’t matter. The primaries are six months away. The election is more than a year away. What is going on now and for the next six months serves only one useful purpose – pumping some money into a few segments of the economy and specifically keeping the “talking head” class employed. The pundit class seems rather well-paid, judging by the coiffed hair and tailored clothes of both its female and male associates. (How I long for some messy hair and a few wrinkled suits!!)
But I have a solution. Feel free to adopt it yourself. Just say “No.” Go cold turkey.
Ignore every debate, campaign appearance, statement and poll between now and New Year’s. They are irrelevant. To follow them now is pretty much a waste of time. The almost impenetrable “spin shields” that are conspiratorially constructed by candidates themselves, handlers and the talking head class make us long for the clarity of mazes, hazes and labyrinths. Tune in periodically – if you want – to re-confirm their lack of substance and merit (except for the jobs they provide to a limited few.)
An Alternative Use of Time
Since I am not encouraging sloth, you may rightly ask what more important things we should be doing. Here’s my list of more important things to do –
- Buy your favorite flavor ice cream cone. Enjoy the rest of the summer. Take some time with family friends.
- Make sure the kids are ready for school – your own and sometimes a helping hand to neighbors or even families you may not know.
- Cheer for the NY Yankees to make the World Series and beat the Mets with a walk-off ninth inning home run. Order needs to be restored to the universe.
- Pray for peace in the Middle East whether you are for or against the Iran deal.
- Atone for what you’ve done wrong – even if you’re not Jewish. (I know I could use more than one Yom Kippur a year.)
- Enjoy the change in seasons. Go apple picking if you are lucky enough to live in the Northeast. (We have to put up with enough snow, ice and gray to merit this treat.)
- Eat too much on Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to give thanks to God. Don’t forget a neighbor who does not have enough to eat. (Rejoice that so many do think of their neighbors at Thanksgiving – Try to remember there are hungry families in August also.
- Have a serious conversation about the minimum wage with a local business owner and one of her employees.
- Celebrate Christmas if you are Christian. Celebrate the spirit of Christmas whatever your religion is.
- Toast the New Year in and the old year out by helping a neighbor in need & saying an extra prayer.
Tune In Again – On & Off – Participate and Vote
Then in the dreary days of January and February tune in again and some things will begin to matter as the caucuses and primaries will narrow and solidify things. My prediction is that the nominations will pretty much be wrapped up by May/June.
Then take summer 2016 off again for ice cream, vacation, family and friends, catching up at work, looking for a new job, a special project, whatever, doing nothing – all more valuable than watching the conventions and commentaries. Get ready to tune in after Labor Day 2016 – then things will begin to matter.
Make your decision and then vote. Elections do matter – probably not as much as those running for office claim. (This will not be a historic election. We are not on the “eve of destruction.” The nation will neither be destroyed nor saved by the next President.) However, definitely vote. Elections are not as meaningless as the cynics among us rant about.
Obviously if you have a few million dollars to kick in to the candidate of your choice, you will count more. Better yet, give a million or so to both nominees and you’ll be assured a seat at the table. By the way, you can do this legally now through various mechanisms thanks to the Supreme Court determining that giving bundles of money to political candidates, or to PACS that never coordinate with candidates, is the same as free speech. I guess that’s because money talks. I agree but it seems to me that money is shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre – but I’m no lawyer.
I will take a look at Congress on one occasion – a September morning when the Vatican CEO shows up to say a few words. There will be some squirming on both sides of the aisle. That will be fun to watch.
So I’m done on this topic until the New Year. FYI – My cone will “cookies & cream.”