24 October 2012

Somebody Fix Something

In my neighborhood, we have two representatives running that have single-handedly filled recycling bins across town with their daily dueling flyers. Every day, it's David McSweeney versus Dee Beaubien, or as they've come to be affectionately known in our house, McSweenz and DeeBeaubs. 

McSweenz hates old people and he's going to screw your family. DeeBeaubs is not a real Independent, she's a Democrat... when she's not a Republican. And so on and so forth. The funniest ad was when McSweenz made an ad about DeeBeaubs having Chicago political ties and made it look like a pizza flyer, complete with mouth-watering pepperoni. That sealed the deal for me. A vote for DeeBeaubs is a vote for delicious pizza. Mmmmmm.... I love pizza.

For every one flyer making  a positive statement about the candidate in question, there are seven trashing their opponent. They pick comically unflattering photos of one another, in a desperate attempt to add homeliness to the long list of evils. And I am not kidding you when I say these things come. Every. Single. Day. These flyers are slick, thick, laminated. Glossy. They have a good weight to them and I wonder, as I toss them in our silver bin, "how much does this stupid shit cost?" Because, really, who is reading this garbage with real interest?

What I like to do, personally, is a few weeks before the election, I print out my sample ballot and look everyone up. This works fairly well for the state representatives and congressmen and women, but by the time you get down to county board and judges, a chance of finding anything out is slim to none. Or it's such a painstaking process, you give up and just start filling in ovals. 

This is a fundamental problem. It is one of the main reasons the public is ignorant about our candidates and the issues at hand. It's the reason people are so fearful and irritable about election day: No one knows what the hell is going on. If we took our election process more seriously, so much froth and confusion would be avoided. 

The first step is obviously no campaign contributions whatsoever. There should be a government fund for campaign finance, distributed equally between all valid candidates. (Obviously this would have to be precise, as any asshole can run for anything). Every candidate gets a website to run their campaign how they see fit. After that, no commercials, no flyers, no attack ads of any kind. Then, 2 months before elections, everyone gets a packet in the mail that details the specific ballot for their area and profiles of every person on it, as well as the special referendums (facts only) pro and con and internet links for further study. This packet can include non-negative flyers and website information as well. Broadcast times of debates should be slipped in there somewhere. I think two months is long enough to learn, but timely enough so you don't forget by election day.

Early voting information should be easily accessible as well. Then, Election Day should be a national holiday. Off work/off school and no excuse not to go to the polls. I mean, come on. This is the most important part of our democratic process and we treat it like something to squeeze in between errands or work. 

I think we need to treat voting seriously. The way it stands, partisan lines are extreme due to fear of losing financial backing, attack ads are wasting money by the millions every day to lie and smear, and the resulting people winging in and out of the local polling place before or after work, harried and flustered, is not a good way to choose the people making decisions for your community, let alone country. 

Can someone get on that? 


Anonymous said...

The last line reminds me of Honey Boo Boo

EM Hum said...

LOL. I have yet to see that show, believe it or not.