Barb Caffrey's Blog

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Time to vote — also some reflections on Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity”

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I have a simple message today: please, regardless of your political persuasion, be sure to vote.  If there is no one to vote for, figure out who you like the least, then vote against that person even if you end up writing in your own name.  Just go, make your case, and vote.  Our system of representative democracy depends on it.

Voting is a way to say that we, the people of the United States of America, demand your notice, Mr. and Ms. Politician.  And we’re tired of being blown off.

That’s why we must vote, and have our say.  Keep them honest, or at least less dirty.  And make your will be known.  Please, please vote. 

I would also like to suggest that all political ads be removed from the air two or three days before an election.  Most people have made up their minds by this time, and the few that haven’t aren’t going to be swayed by political advertising.  Maybe a non-partisan “please, vote” on voting day would be fine — but the plethora of political ads now is deafening and irresponsible.

In my home state, Wisconsin, I am subjected to ads over and over again, to the point where I can quote them.  I’ve heard from Russ Feingold, incumbent Democrat, and I’ve heard from Ron Johnson, a very wealthy man who’s running for the Senate as a Republican.  (This year, being very wealthy seems to equal being an incumbent; both are despised by the vast majority of voters.  Don’t start on how irrational this is, because I am well aware.)  I’ve heard from Tom Barrett, Democratic candidate for Governor (and current, sitting mayor of Milwaukee, the biggest city in Wisconsin), and I’ve heard from Scott Walker, the Republican candidate for Governor (and current, sitting county executive for Milwaukee County, the biggest county in Wisconsin).  And I’ve heard all sorts of ads for just about any campaign imaginable in Southeastern Wisconsin.

All I can say is this: stop, please.  There is no need for this.  Voters are fed up, and all these ads do is make voters more and more upset that we haven’t a way to fast-forward to Voting Day (this year on November 2nd) and vote already in order to shut the various candidates’ voices up yesterday, by preference.

Finally, I think Jon Stewart’s “Rally for Sanity,” which was held this past Saturday, was on to something.  As Stewart said, we all work together every day — it’s only in the hallowed halls of government that everything breaks down.  If we are going underneath a tunnel, or are trying to merge into traffic, whether a person has a NRA sticker or an Obama sticker on the car is irrelevant — we’re going to let that person in, and most of the time won’t hit them with our car in the process.

Here’s a link to the full text of that speech:

http://www.examiner.com/celebrity-in-national/rally-to-restore-sanity-jon-stewart-s-closing-speech-full-text

And a relevant quote:

If we amplify everything we hear nothing.  There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned.  You must have the resume.  Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate–just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more.  The press is our immune system.  If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker–and perhaps eczema. 

And yet, with that being said, I feel good—strangely, calmly good.  Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false.  It is us through a fun house mirror, and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass shaped like a month old pumpkin and one eyeball.

Mr. Stewart is right on the money in his critique of the overreaction of the mainstream media.  When everything is a crisis, how can anything be evaluated except as a crisis?  Then whatever you say, whatever you do, is “amped up” to the point that it’s blown so far out of proportion that it can barely be recognized.

I don’t know what the answers are to the 24/7 cable news networks in this country.  I don’t know what the answers are to why our own federal government works so improperly, and with so much more “heat” than “light.”

I do know that we need people in Congress to work together.  Find a consensus.  And go from there.

Our country deserves better from our politicians, and it’s time to stand up and demand they take notice.  That’s what the “Rally for Sanity” was saying, and they were right; it’s what many of the Tea Partiers have been saying, and they, too, are right.

We, the people, are better than our representatives.  And the imbalance is palpable.

This must be fixed.  Which is why I say again, for the third (and last) time, please, please vote.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 31, 2010 at 11:42 pm