21 September 2009

E in P Rerun:The Following is NOT a Hate Cartoon!

(If this cartoon is hazy, click on it to enlarge it.)

In modern politics, or in olden politics, for that matter, "handlers" of the candidates try, sometimes desperately, to mold the image of an office seeker to fit what they think is some sort of ideal of electability. This is what is known as "packaging". The same thing that is done with bread, beer, corn chips, and lunchmeat... the four food groups.

We don't complain about this situation very much until election time approaches, but of course it has been going on without our notice all along. This is no surprise... a candidate is really perpetually either running for an office or running from one all their political career.
Go, go, go.
But at election time we notice what we've been trying to ignore, because some politician will bring it to our attention to try to defame his or her opponent. In political terminology this is referred to as "calling someone out" and in regular speak as "the pot calling the kettle black".
Being "packaged" is made out to be a sin, and we are supposed to think these handlers and their "image issues" are devils of deception. We're supposed to wonder what rotten, no-good, low-down, cotton-pickin' rascal this candidate must be deep down if he or she needs to be gussied up like Emma's prize pig at the county fair. Something, somehow, must be gang agley. There's squirreliness afoot someway, and we the public must beware, beware, beware.
This is, of course, utter nonsense. Humbug.
This sort of worrying is like being afraid to fly because the plane is painted purple. It's not of any importance. Not at all, for one simple reason. You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.
No, the real problem isn't in what we are told to believe about politicians, because on the whole we're perfectly skeptical. We voters are basically too savvy about the way the game is played to be fooled by the cheerleaders on the sidelines. The real problem isn't in what we are pressured to believe. It's what we talk ourselves into thinking that's dangerous. It's in what we WANT to believe, even if all the evidence is to the contrary.
For example, if we vote for Hillary it's because we want to believe she'll bring this country together, stop the war, fight poverty, give us all affordable health care, correct the economy, and be the perfect representative for all our interests around the world.
Now go back and fill in the foregoing statement with the name of any other candidate you want, and the statement remains true for any of them. I don't care who you plug in, if you want to believe, you will believe, and that's your right, even if you're wrong.
It's really a good example of blind faith in action, the way we vote. But what other choice is there? We could look at the candidates' voting history, maybe? Not much help there. Things and people and their opinions change, as do the times. Look at their professional careers? Maybe, but in the case of the Presidency it's a whole new ballgame with different umpires, and a lot further between the bases.
I decided that I'm not going to expect miracles or sainthood from my choice for President, just that they be somebody I wouldn't feel ashamed of a couple years from now. How can you ask for more than that?


Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Interesting cartoon. I wrote more and if I ever download it, I'll post it here.

The way we vote sucks. Our Michigan Primaries sucked this year.

The whole primary and voting system sucks. It's hardly a democracy, for all the talk about democracies.

ImperfectNerd said...

Let's change things. The President is the only nationally elected office. If we amend the Constitution properly we could get rid of all the baggage in between and just elect one by a direct vote of the people. That would make more economic sense, if nothing else!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Sounds good, simple and much more equitable--OK, how do we make it happen? I HATE the current system!

ImperfectNerd said...

By a Constitutional Convention. Before that could happen, though, the politically potent way to proceed would be to generate petitions in all fifty states calling for one, to provide for the direct election of the President, but NO OTHER ISSUE.
Otherwise the whole law of the land would be open to revision, and that's considered to be too reckless a move to get enough support. It would be a one-issue affair, and the petition and subsequent debate would decide the matter.

ImperfectNerd said...

The provision in the Constitution in question is Article II, section 1. It details the (somewhat complicated) system we supposedly use today.

Calling the Convention would require either 2/3's of the states OR 2/3's of BOTH the Senate and House to agree to doing it. This is required by Article V.

THEN 3/4's of the states would have to approve the change.

In short, first the public would have to push for it, and then the states or Congress would have to be convinced. BUT there may be a shortcut by going to the Supreme Court!

If the Court could be convinced that the procedure in Article II-1 is, in fact, outmoded, and ultimately subject to revision BY THE PEOPLE, it could direct that Congress put the matter to a general vote, and there you go.

ImperfectNerd said...

This means, in essence, a Supreme Court challenge to the Constitutionality of the Constitution itself! To my knowledge, that has never happened in our history. But in this particular case, I think a strong argument could be brought forth.