Monday, November 06, 2006

My name is The Moon Topples, and I approved this message

So election day is upon us. I hope you'll all remember to vote, in spite of the disgusting tone of most of the advertising and the general stench given off by the candidates themselves. Unless you're not an American, in which case you can probably skip this post entirely.

The tone of the ads are more or less: "John Dirigible won't tell you that he is a former Nazi and Klansman with ties to organized crime who skips out on his child-support payments. He supports burning down any structure built more than 10 years ago, and twice voted against allowing our troops even basic food while serving our country. If John Dirigible has his way, illegal immigrants will be running our schools, while homeless people make more money than you do. My name is Nigel Abattoir, and I approve this message."

I think my favorite one is attacking one of the candidates for Cook County Board President. The ad points out that he's a "typical Bush Republican," and cites his position on abortion rights, the war in Iraq, immigration policy and other issues where he agrees with the President. While I'm quite far from the Republican position on pretty much everything I can think of, I think by the time a county board President is making decisions on troop deployment and a woman's right to choose, we'll likely have some bigger problems.

The thing that bugs me is that these ads assume that not only are we too stupid to peer through the layer of spin they've slathered on their messages, but that both candidates are a crappy choice, only differing in degree of unsuitability for office. I wish there had been more instances where the candidate came out and said what they would do, and not just how evil the other guy or gal is.

Although that is not always a great thing, either. PBS has been running little 90-second statements by a lot of the candidates for Illinois office. Some of them, thankfully, use this time to talk about how they would execute the powers of their prospective office. But most of them cannot resist a dig at an opponent, or some tremendously condescending statement. The Green Party candidate for state treasurer started out by attacking the Democratic candidate, and then spent the bulk of his time smugly informing us that we should vote for him on the basis of his being both gay and Asian. Obviously, I have nothing against gay people or Asians, I just don't consider being in either group a qualification for public office in and of itself. And I'd like the Green Party a whole lot more if they came with a little gravitas.

For anybody who might be interested, I'm very liberal. But I don't see a whole lot of liberalism out there right now. So voting won't exactly be the exciting thing it is when I actually support someone running for office. Sometimes voting is more a duty than a privilege, I guess.

But vote I shall, because in spite of everything I've said in this post, I think it is important to have a voice in choosing who's going to run things.

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