Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lazy Sunday # 235: They Need A Bigger Wind

I’m a news junkie, a political one too. But days away from the beginning of the height of the political season in the US, I’ve decided not to follow it anymore.

The lying and the nonsense finally got to me. Mostly the lying. But the nonsense too.

All week long, American news organizations ramped up concerns that Hurricane Isaac would arrive in Tampa on Monday, disrupting the opening of the Republic National Convention during which Mitt Romney would receive the mantle of Presidential candidate.

Depending on your political leanings, there were any number of panel discussions on everything from disrupted flight schedules to the need for first responders to concentrate on helping the city’s population rather than protestors or visiting conventioneers.

One network talking head even chortled that this was God’s way of “smiting the GOP”.

Not once did I hear anybody remark that this was a pretty major storm with the power to wreak havoc on millions of people and probably cost several their lives.

Only this morning, when the storm track changed, moving Isaac away from Tampa and threatening to arrive in New Orleans on the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina did anybody seem to realize Nature has no political motives.

I’m sure there have been past political campaigns with the level of rancor, name-calling and ill-will of the 2012 election. I’m certain that all of them have included side-issues dominating the important ones and off-the-cuff remarks derailing somebody’s agenda.

But I don’t recall a time when somebody could be caught in a bald-faced lie and argue that them lying to voters wasn’t an issue.

Thursday night, I was watching Anderson Cooper on CNN reporting on the fallout from the incredibly ignorant remarks about rape made by US Senate candidate Todd Akin.

Cooper turned his attention to a fund raising letter sent out that day by Democratic National Committee Chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz which contained two lies, one being a truncated quote from the LA times revised to say exactly the opposite of what it had said in the first place.

Confronted, the Congresswoman deflected, insisting the lies weren’t the issue. The look on Cooper’s face was priceless. On a news show, he was being told that lies don’t matter?

And that was the moment when – for me – the penny dropped. This time around, as far as America is concerned, they probably don’t.

Both sides spin whatever they want to say with the help of enough media supporters that the mere half million who watched and may have been as equally shocked as CNN’s host really don’t matter.

Which maybe explains why a storm with the power to adversely affect at least that many lives has been mostly more important as a disruption to the ongoing political cat-fight.

So – I’m out. I’m gone. I got network executives who lie to me all day long. I don’t need more lying in my off hours, least of all from people who want to shape my opinion.

Although I won’t be wasting my time paying much attention anymore, I hope you guys living just South of me have a good election. I know about half of you won’t be happy with the way it turns out. But that’s the way it goes with elections.

At least, in the ones where people are being honest about each other and the issues, the losers tend to get over it and allow that maybe the best guy won.

When you know you lost because the other guy was lying, I’m not sure that’s the case. And it’ll take a much stronger wind than Isaac is packing to blow those kind of hard feelings away.

No matter how you vote, you guys need to hold your candidates and their political machines to a higher standard. Telling them to stop telling lies might be an easy place to start.

Enjoy your Sunday.

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