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More political cynicism

2000-11-09 18:03:26+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

So on NPR show last night Harry Shearer was talking about how he stayed up all night watching the returns, how exciting it all was, yadda yadda yadda. And I had to think: What possible impact on one's life can knowing the outcome of that election a few hours earlier have? I want a news outlet that provides me with information that I can make decisions and take action based on, is anyone out there interested in providing same for me, or am I stuck with people who think politics and football games need to be called the same way?

[ related topics: Politics Games ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:34+00 by: Larry Burton

That's an interesting observation. My eleven year old made the same connection Tuesday night. He noted how the electoral vote count graphic shown on the screen was "just like football." Actually, it's a lot more similiar than we would like for it to be. Have you noticed the Gore supporters displaying the same sort of emotions a football fan displays when a controversial penalty is assessed?

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:34+00 by: ziffle

The unfolding election was an elegant event. It is a renewal. It is the end of a vigorous expounding of viewpoints. This is a substitute for actual battle among groups. By the end everyone feels that their point of view has been made clear to all, and senses that if others do not agree, at least they have had their say, and everyone is too exhausted to go further. It takes time spent in a country run by a dictatorship or corrupt political system to fully appreciate the beauty of free speech, and the beauty of expressing yourself publicly without fear. The election was the culmination of this elegant beautiful principle, and it is more than a game. Also could you make this comment window bigger ? <g>

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:34+00 by: daveadams

What possible impact on one's life can knowing the outcome of that election a few hours earlier have? Ultimately none. But it was worth watching for me because it was exciting. Just like watching an entertaining movie or reading a good book or listening to some good music. It may not have an impact on my life, but it's fun.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:34+00 by: Dan Lyke

I guess this is why I feel like such an outsider sometimes. Heck, even if you put the candidates in loincloths, sprinkled various bladed weapons throughout the arena, and told 'em the last man standing got room and board for 4 years I wouldn't watch. What affects my life is the outcome, not the nature of the battle. I guess this is why Las Vegas holds little appeal, and that I wish that when I bought a lottery ticket I could just give 'em my name and address and have them contact me if I won. I also think that as long as we do view politics as some sort of sporting event, humans are stuck being a herd, taking cues from the alpha males and affiliating as packs. As long as this is the case politics won't be about ideas, it'll be personality, and we'll continue to replay the last tens of thousands of years. Ho, hum.

#Comment made: 2000-11-10 19:47:15+00 by: greon [edit history]

Dan has a point here. To see millions treating the election like a football game I find a little alarming. Some people like watching football games as a way of relaxing. Since the purpose of relaxing (much like the purpose of sleep) is to reset your mental state as a way from recovering from doing real work, no harm comes from using football spectacles as a means of relaxation. Voting is emphatically more important than a recreational activity. I want voters to care about outcomes, to think. Part of effective thinking is the ability to control one's enthusiasm. It should take about 30 seconds of mild effort for a TV viewer to conclude that there is no objective need to learn who won the same night ballots were cast (and then probably go to bed). I seriously question the decision-making abilities of those 100,000s of voters who could not control their enthusiasm for learning right away who won or who find it very compelling to stay for hours in a state of enthusiasm over a piece of info (namely, who won) that everyone can easily wait for for a few weeks. I'd go so far as to say that I'd rather not share a country with such people, out of concern that they are going to make some truly stupid electoral decisions.

#Comment made: 2000-11-10 19:47:44+00 by: greon [edit history]

clarification: I care who wins the election for president. I am capable of staying enthusiastic about contests like this for hours on end: I know why it is fun, and I can get a mild high off of elections and sporting contests. my point is that that high state is probably inconsistent with thinking to the best of one's abilities, and it hurts me to see many people use something as important as an election to get their stupid little highs. for more on the assertion that the enthusiastic/high state "makes you stupid", see reciprocality.org/Reciprocality/r1/index.html.