Our political campaigns have degenerated into fund-raising campaigns and advertising campaigns. Politicians spend more time raising money than they do legislating because they know that having the biggest ad budget is the key to holding on to their well-paid jobs. The staggering amounts of money that must be raised to be considered a serious candidate, and the fact that far too many voters are influenced in their decisions by the ads they see on television, are the means by which moneyed interests control our government. We are a plutocracy masquerading as a democracy.
I don’t watch much TV and that has probably saved me from a nervous breakdown. I will readily admit that, as a general rule, I don’t like advertising. I do enjoy ads that are amusing or entertaining. Political ads never meet either of these standards. I have a special hatred for attack ads. They are preaching to the choir in my case. I was persuaded long ago that very nearly every politician in our venal, corrupt system is, well, venal and corrupt.
There is a serious discussion of the rather serious issues facing our nation taking place in a select group of magazines (don’t ask Palin to name any of them) and among some of the bloggers on the Internet, but the candidates and their surrogates rarely join in the discussion. Most candidates do have position papers buried deep on their respective web sites, but the give and take of arguing in support of their positions is sadly absent from the political process. The presidential and vice-presidential “debates” that took place recently involved little more than mind-numbing repetitions of their favorite talking points, most of which are really ad slogans cleverly crafted by their media handlers. The candidates have gotten far too adept at staying on message.