Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Passion & Partisanship

Passions in elections across the nation ran high yesterday for many people, especially in Wisconsin. Just to make sure we kill this idea, right from the start today, the elections in Wisconsin mean nothing regarding this years' Presidential election. Even in the face of the GOP win - which may be temporary, as both state and federal investigations appear to show Walker violated major campaign finance rules - polls proved Wisconsinites still prefer President Obama to Mitt Romney by a double-digit margin.

What did mean something in yesterday's elections though, was the media and propaganda that many of those interested in politics absorbed over the last few months, before the elections. It's a fair bet that for those of our readers who lean to the right, you'll listen to right-wing radio today, which will brag about your successes on Tuesday - and completely ignore the failures of the right. Even if it makes you less intelligent, you'll also probably watch Fox 'News' today too, which will simply reinforce the same opinions.

For those of our left-leaning readers, we can almost guarantee you'll listen to progressive radio today, and probably some NPR as well. Both sources will likely do a bit more introspective analysis of both sides of Tuesday's races than their counterparts on the right. We also bet for you lefties that you've likely read at least one newspaper this morning, and if you watch any TV news today, you'll likely watch MSNBC or CNN.

All of these media choices shouldn't surprise anyone. That partisans on both ends of the binary political scale have become more polarized, and are singing ever louder to their own respective choirs, is simply what the latest data from the Pew Center confirms.

What might surprise some of you, on both the left and right, is that the amorphous group of voters known as "independents" couldn't really care less about politics right now - even yesterday, before heated political races across the country.

Whether you were an independent in New York, or Virginia - or in California, considering a traditionally passionate topic like marijuana legalization - most voters who consider themselves "Independent" have yet to emotionally invest in the 2012 elections, on any level - even that of the Presidential contest.

The results of the Pew Center survey also make it clear that most voters who label themselves "Independent" really aren't - something we've believed for quite some time.

If you think all the debates, the screaming, the ads, and all the rest of the political hoopla has been about nothing, though, you'd be terribly wrong.

If nothing else, these early elections have more thoroughly vetted candidates at all levels. These early contests have also proven, by checking what candidates have said, that Republican hopefuls this year have had an overwhelming tendency to lie and lie big. Democrats, on the other hand, have done some lying too - but the Democratic mendacity has been mostly positioning and obfuscation, not outright 'Pants on Fire' lying.

This early round of elections have also brought out the best - and worst - in some of our neighbors, friends, and readers.

Speech and money are not the same thing. If you are someone who is offended by the volume - and the actions - of the extremists who claim the same political label you champion, you need to stand up and say something about their offensive conduct. If you don't, you must accept the fact that you will be grouped in with the rest of the loudest and most vile mouthpieces from your party.

Voting - and politics, in general - are optimally about Americans putting voice to educated opinions. Some people will always lean left. Some will always lean right.

Sadly, as long as they have cheap entertainment to help them escape, some will never care - until it's too late.

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