Two weeks until the election. I’ll bet you’re as tired as I am of hearing about it. I think maybe one of the reasons so many people fail to vote is that by the time the election rolls around, they’re convinced that they have already voted – over and over again.
Think about it. We keep hearing the poll results from the media. It’s like checking your pulse every five minutes. Is my heart beating now? What’s the rate? Will it go on, or will it suddenly stop, say, in the next five to ten minutes? And if my pulse is racing, what are the long-term ramifications? Am I temporarily excited or am I about to have a coronary? Yes, I would love to stop checking my pulse, but when you’re talking about pulse rate, five minutes can be an eternity. I must check it, again and again, so that I will know with certainty what will happen in the next five minutes. After all, the pulse rate today, maybe blood pressure tomorrow. Insane.
From the time I was a little girl I heard my father saying that the electorate in this country was complacent, lazy, underinvolved. I always thought it was true. Now, I wonder if the truth is just the opposite. We are overinvolved. We have been systematically desensitized by a flood of media hype. It doesn’t really matter where your own particular brand of politics happens to fall; you, my fellow citizen, have been numbed by an avalanche of overinformation. (Not, of course, accurate information. Here, the media has given us a word for the phenomenon: “spin”).
The politicians, of course, are equally to blame when it comes to spin. After all, if public opinion hands you a lemon, you must make lemonade. Perhaps one of the most famous (and pitiful) examples of spin is, “It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is”. Yes, if you’re caught with your pants down (literally) you have to spin till you’re dizzy. But Bill Clinton did not invent spin, and, although he was a brilliant politician, he wasn’t actually a master of spin. (That’s why it was so pitiful). I have much better spinmeisters I could point to, but that might make me look partisan, so I’ll pass. Besides, what difference does it make? Everyone does it. It is the political equivalent of wearing make-up. You go for the illusion of being natural. No one actually expects you to be natural. And whether you favor the Tammy Faye approach or the Christie Brinkley approach, everyone knows you wear make-up. Can you name one supermodel who doesn’t wear make-up? Aha! That’s my point.
So, here is what I intend to do for the next two weeks. I intend not to watch television news. I will watch “I Love Lucy”reruns. I will write my blog. I will read another book in the Mitford series. I will stay close to my loved ones. I will clean house and make dinner. I have already gone over my ballot and I know how I will vote. Unless something earth-shaking happens between now and November 2nd, there is no more information I need. So, hopefully, by November 2nd I won’t be too burnt-out to vote. I will remember that I haven’t really voted before in this election, although I may have dreamt or imagined that I voted in this election hundreds of times.
I hope you will vote, too. In real life. On November 2nd. Even if it seems like you’ve “been there, done that”. You haven’t.