RAVE: The election is almost here. Finally. Never before have I been so thoroughly sick of a campaign – or should we just call it like it is? – drawn-out attack and counter-attack? How long has it been – a decade?
I am usually a news yeller. I yell when a report on the war comes out. I yell when a piece on factories in India is broadcast. I yell at celebrity stories. I yell at weather forecasts. Heck, I even yell at movie reviews. So you can imagine the noise I have been making lately. Even my cats are concerned.
I don’t think I am alone when I say:
I am sick and tired of the mudslinging between the candidates.
I am sick and tired of the nonstop nasty mailers and ads.
I am sick and tired of the bad behavior all around.
Our politicians, of course, deserve most of the blame for the negative affair the campaign has become. I feel sorry for anyone newly eligible to vote as this is going to be their inaugural experience of our election system. It’s enough to turn a person off to the whole shebang for life. So many initially promising races – local and national – have devolved to the point that I don’t know about you, but I certainly have forgotten what I even liked about certain candidates and their policies in the first place.
Wouldn’t it be nice if candidates made a pledge to finish their campaigns on a high note, to try their best to win without sacrificing the public’s respect in the process? Or at least to stop saying mean things about each other? Honestly. Where are their mothers?
Perhaps the fault, at the end of the day, lies with us – The Public. Perhaps we need to demand better from the men and women on the ballot.
One way not to do this is not to vote on November 6 (double negative = VOTE). Opting out of the process may make you part of the silent majority (less than 50 percent of the population is expected to show up on Tuesday) – but it does mean just that: Your voice is not heard. As FDR stated, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
So even if there is no one you want to vote for any more, go anyway and cast what I call an “anti-vote” (yes, I am punning “antidote”). There is a write-in option on the ballots – scribble in the name of your spouse, your enemy, your dog, whatever. The point isn’t the who but the why – you vote because you can.
(Cue Alice’s Restaurant)
If just one hundred people anti-vote, well, the politicians probably won’t even notice.
And if two thousand people ant-vote – in two-part harmony – the politicians will most likely think that their position on gay marriage is right (and yes, I mean to be ambiguous re pro and con).
But if three thousand people anti-vote and tweet, FB and/or simply tell their neighbor why they are doing it, the politicians might think that what this is might just be an honest-to-goodness movement. And that’s exactly what it would be – the We Want An Election Process That Does Not Spend Billions of Dollars to Diss the Other Person and Obfuscate the Facts Movement. No? How about the WWAEPTADNSBODTOTOPAOTF Movement? Huh, that doesn’t exactly work either.
Oh, to hell with it. Just vote. And get ready – the next election is less than two years from now.
RANT: Sandy, of course.
Hang on. Obviously, I am not really ranting about Sandy per se. People have died, property has been damaged, some areas of the country are going to take a long time to recover.
Nor am I ranting that the tempest was mostly underwhelming in our fair town. And if you are one of those who experienced property damage or power outages or any other injury or inconvenience from the storm, I am sorry – Sandy was definitely a devastating event.
Neither am I ranting about our town’s excellent proactive response. I prefer everything to close (and especially love when any meetings I have happen to be postponed for any reason) than take risk a reprisal of the 2007 winter storm when many authorities did not react to forecast warnings quickly enough.
So I am also not ranting about being over-prepared for all eventualities. Last year, Irene had not even gotten within spitting distance of Rhode Island and we lost power in our neighborhood. It was over two weeks before we were back on the grid. So obviously, you never know and I am grateful for a local government that is cautious rather than cavalier.
But here is what I am ranting about: The overhype by the media regarding the storm.
Here are a couple of key phrases that were tossed around in the news: "devastating and historic," "once-in-a-lifetime storm," "severity," "intensity we have not seen in this part of the country in the past century,” “Save us!"
Of course, it is easy to Friday night quarterback.
But I also think that there is a reason those Aesop tales are so enduring. Like the boy who cried wolf, if the meteorologists react with a worst-case-scenario for every storm, I can’t help but wonder if we are all going to stop paying attention. Erring on the side of caution does not have to mean scaring us. There is a difference between screaming, “There is a bear on your porch and it may get in and attack you so you should take precautions!” and “There is a bear on your porch picking the lock to your door so it can get in and eat your entire family!”
A couple of friends and I discussed this and we all said that we had trouble taking Sandy as seriously was warranted because of the constant coverage that seemed to border just this side of hysteria.
Perhaps local weather watchers want to avoid the fate of those Italian earthquake experts who, having failed to warn about the L’Aquila earthquake back in 2009, have just been convicted for manslaughter. Or maybe the media is just tired of election coverage and needed something else to get excited about.
However, at the end of the day, I am grateful that our town was not too badly hit. And, to be honest, I am also grateful for the fact that the dire warnings meant that the many of those political signs littering our roads came down as people feared they might become projectile missiles in the storm. Now that would be a headline: “ (insert politico’s name) blows hard in wind!”