Niagara Gazette

November 6, 2012

BRADBERRY: Elections have consequences, impact everyone

By Bill Bradberry
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — “I’m tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney”, wept 4-year-old Abigael Evans.

Living in Fort Collins, Co., a so-called “swing state” which had been carpet bombed with non-stop political advertising, little Abi’s mother, Elizabeth Evans noticed that her daughter was crying as they listened to the radio while driving around town a few days ago.

When Elizabeth asked her daughter why she was crying, Abigael said what a lot of adults have been feeling for a long time, but are too inhibited by perceived social mores and phony political correctness to express themselves in the same healthy manner.

Fortunately for the masses, Mrs. Evans had the good sense and a handy video camera available to capture the moment thus giving millions of internet viewers an opportunity to share in this extraordinarily effective teachable moment (newsletters@n.npr.org).

The lesson? Election campaigns have consequences, some unintended and that they impact everyone.

While the campaigns use all available media to get their messages across to the voters in the hope that the electorate will be motivated if not inspired to rush to the polls and vote as directed, one of the apparent unintended consequences of media market saturation may be that voters, overwhelmed by the constant back and forth barrages, simply get sick and tired of it all to the extent that they actually do the opposite and drop out of the process altogether.

Just like the new found convenience of high quality video recording, instant uploading and social networking via smart phones now allows us to instantly share our most intimate experiences with the world, that very same advanced new technology also allows us to fast forward, skip and flip past the slick political advertising and irritating soap commercials.

In fact, that feature, the ability to skip past the commercials, is a main selling point with television cable and satellite DVR service providers as well as with newer television and home theater products.

Or, if you’re like me and many who don’t yet have or want the newest gadgetry, you can simply tune it out or change the channel; same result.

So just how effective is all that big campaign money if people are actually turned off by it?

Well, according to the experts, it is very effective and it is not likely to end any time soon. Thank goodness, it seems to be over for now, at least until the next campaign season begins, usually the day after the last election cycle ends.

Isn’t there a better way to do this, can’t we figure out how to elect our representatives without them having to run, some of them constantly, always trying to raise money just so that they can keep campaigning? Do we really have to be subjected to this? Well, no, but ...

Just look around at the rest of the world; see how some countries change leadership?

Not many are able to do what we manage to do without violence.

Of course, some fundamental reform cannot come without force.

Like our own American Revolutionaries were, some people today, stuck with the same dictating leadership for decades are willing to fight and die for democracy.

Putting up with annoying political advertising seems a small price to pay for what we can get in return. But that’s not to say that we need not make our own system better; we should!

Once the dust has settled and our leadership goes back to work, besides rescuing us from whatever financial cliffs we’ve been left dangling from since the last campaign, they really need to put aside the bickering long enough to adopt some serious election campaign finance reform.

This campaign season was likely the most expensive in history, a lot of money and talent spent.

No doubt, we can do better, though in fairness, the real costs per capita to elect a president, for example, are probably far less than what is spent trying to convince us to eat burgers and fries, buy anti-acids and drive new cars.

For precious little Abigael Evans and for almost all of the rest of us, this one is over, but I won’t be surprised if in 14 or so years, Abi Evans isn’t, herself seeking public office with her very media savvy mother, Elizabeth Evans as her campaign manager.

What a country, eh?

Contact Bill at bill.bradberry@yahoo.com

Contact Bill at bill.bradberry@yahoo.com.