Thursday 13: Confessions, volume VII, the political edition

I admit it. Political discussions give me heartburn. I don't write about politics directly very often because I prefer to keep the peace, especially online. I have no interest in seeing my very politically diverse group of friends and family come to e-blows. If you read this post, you know what I'm saying. But when I asked Mr. T what I should write about for my last Thursday 13, he suggested I do a little political ranting. It took me a week to work up to it. So here you go. 13 political confessions.

1. Campaign ad waste drives me insane. The postcards, flyers, TV spots, radio ads, internet banners. Millions and billions of dollars WASTED. Do I pay attention to the over-wrought messages? No. They get turned off, switched over, or chucked into the recycle bin. I would support a drastic limitation on campaign spending.

Received this attack ad in the mail. Apparently gas
taxes and vampires are somehow related.
2. I find nonsense political ads amusing. The other day, we got a real gem of an ad that connected fuel taxes and vampires. I am left to assume, from the attack ad, that the opposition is trying to liken their opponent to a vampire? Ridiculous. And this is coming from a sparkly vampire/Team Bill-okay-maybe-Erik-no-definitely-Bill fan.

3. That political ads might be persuasive, however, scares the crap out of me. I find zero value to political ads, especially the kind that feature vampires, outrageous claims, emotional scare tactics or personal attacks. But I have to believe they are rampant because they might actually work to persuade people. And that, my friends, terrifies me.

4. I adore political satire. Colbert Report, Jon Stewart, South Park... bring it on. In particular, memes make election seasons bearable, although barely.

Photo credit.
5. I'm a demo-publican. A registered Libertarian with Christian values (aka the showing love and helping people who need it bits), I value small government, fiscal responsibility, freedom of choice, the sanctity of life, guns (well, freedom to have them anyway), meritocracy, affordable education, freedom of speech, affordable health care, healthy food, roads and infrastructure, equal rights for all people... I could go on. Are there any candidates who embrace all of those?

6. I'm surprised to see highly intelligent friends perpetuate fallacious and reductionist arguments. For example, in response to hurricane Sandy, I saw this "funny" tweet: "Reminder for Republicans: Do not accept any government help today. YOU built that. YOU clear the roads. YOU can restore power, not FEMA." Such an argument takes one Republican ideal (e.g. reducing the size of federal government), outrageously distorts it (e.g. reducing the size of government equals hyper-individualism and a rejection of all federal services) and then attaches the identity to all Republicans, many of whom may not agree. (Furthermore, it's a pretty tacky way to insult millions of people who are hurting right now!) Of course, lest you think I'm a Republican sympathizer, there are a zillion examples going the other direction as well. For instance, "Democrat" does not necessarily equal "bleeding heart liberal wanting to run the nation's coffers dry and hand out abortions on every corner." Clearly not, no. But some days on Facebook, it's hard to tell.

Photo credit.
7. Snide and sarcastic campaigners are a huge turn-off. I listened to most of the debates (instead of watching them) and it struck me how negative and rude many campaigners sounded. Mocking tones and derision towards the opposition made it hard for me to concentrate on the messages being communicated.

8. Snide and sarcastic supporters are an even bigger turn-off. Mostly because I've given a lot of thought to the interpersonal ramifications of negative political chatter. See here for the details.

9. I hate prime time TV interruptions. Yes, I'm frivolous enough to admit this but I have fostered active outrage toward the political events that interrupted my regularly scheduled programming.

Couldn't agree with you more, Mr. President.
10. He said-He said aggravates me. I can't help but notice that the vast majority of political battles are waged by menfolk. And last I checked our population consisted of at least half lady folk. I know there are various and sundry reasons for this and that yeah, yeah, yeah it's getting better. But still. In 2012 our political bodies are still mostly white men? Gag me.

11. I don't care what the first wives are wearing. I stumbled upon an Atlantic article entitled "Is it weird that politicians' wives are wearing dresses instead of suits?" Although the article does question some of the political statements made by attire choices and even cites research about the impacts of gender stereotypes/norms, it just makes me want to scream: YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM! I don't know that I've ever seen an article actively discussing the fashion choices of male political candidates.

12. I refer to our candidates as Barry and Mittens. And it makes me really happy. And, see below, I didn't vote for either of them.

13. I don't feel like my vote matters. Especially as a demo-publican (see #5), voting for one candidate or the other, for one party or the other for that matter, feels like having to choose sides arbitrarily. I find issues on both sides of the Democrat-Republican divide incredibly important. Most of the time I don't feel like I have a candidate to vote for in the first place. And if I do cast a vote, it means that I'm siding against an issue that is also terribly important. Ugh.

13a. Consequently, I feel just like this little girl (only about politics in general):


Other Confessions:
Confessions Volume I
Confessions Volume II
Confessions Volume III
Confessions Volume IV, Thanksgiving edition 
Confessions Volume V
Confessions Volume VI

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