Speech May Be Free, But It Sure Ain’t Cheap


Now that Election Day has arrived, we might take a moment (perhaps while standing in line for a booth, waiting to vote for one of the two available parties,) to be thankful for our freedoms [insert your favorite one here.]  The freedom to publish the following post is vitally appreciated, believe me.

I’ll be especially grateful to be free of campaign advertisements of the smear-and-attack variety.  I haven’t seen much bash-Obama or anti-Romney stuff on TV this past week, but I sure hate it when the local Democrats and Republicans pre-empt my IPad endorsements, just to sling mud back and forth like two-eleven-year-olds who never have to come home to dinner.

The brilliant strategy being, I guess, to make potential supporters negatively associate one’s opponent’s name with bad leadership, waste, and lying, as least as much as they do oneself.  Because if I see/hear Brand Y’s ads 12 times per hour, and Brand X’s only 7 times per hour, and being as uninformed/ignorant as I am, well, I have damn-near no choice but to mindlessly go and cast a ballot for Y, right?

I’d really just rather get back to being sold on some product I don’t need, a service that promises what it fails to deliver, an idea that can’t be put into practice, or persuaded to take an action that makes me believe I matter.  Yeah, that would be a nice, refreshing change from politics.

Speaking of dinner, ask yourself: in order to run all those “necessary” attack ads, how many teachers went without needed seats, books, and supplies, how many veterans without physical and mental therapy, how many police and fire departments and hospitals without vital staff and equipment for protecting the community?  And how many people got laid off this year because the corporations that employed them made big donations, or otherwise supported the political machine? How many people in the path of Hurricane Sandy could use the reported $50,000 the American flag shown above cost?    http://www.luxurylaunches.com/other_stuff/football_field_sized_american_flag_costs_50000.php

How many little election trinkets have we all seen that would never in 100 years change our minds about who to vote for, let alone huge billboards, candidate biographies, countless phone calls by robots, and all those lovely e-mails?  Elections aren’t quite the monsters at throwing good money after bad that wars (of the military variety) are, but they sure seem like it, when the war in your back yard is a media war.

My point is a simple one.  Some people will try to convince you that all money is not the same, just like during the Vietnam War, when they told Martin Luther King that the billions spent on that war were not coming out of social programs in the U.S.  He disagreed, and 45 years later I still find his position more compelling.  If my oversized hunk of the pie didn’t take anything out of your mouth, whose mouth did it come out of?  They don’t grow on trees.

How many kids are losing decent futures in our country, by slow degrees, because the people with access now to money spend it not only foolishly, but downright selfishly?