Thursday, May 01, 2014

Playing Politics II

Do you remember when election ads were limited to election time!? Yeah! Those were the days!

The political ads have been running for weeks now. Corey Gardener is a money-grubbing, heartless monster according to one ad. Mark Udall is a smarmy, conniving Snake-Oil Salesman according to another. The problem is that, since I am certain that these ads have nothing to do with the recently-completed Jefferson Country West-Metro Fire District election, these ads are for an election that is still MONTHS away!

There is a 'well established economic fact' that Douglas Adams invented for The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (second series) on BBC: "The Shoe Event Horizon." According to the theory, in a nutshell, when you are living in a society that is in decline you are sad. When you're sad you look down. When you look down you see your shoes. To cheer yourself up buy a new pair. So in a society that is in serious decline it eventually becomes economically non-viable to build anything but shoe shops.

I think that a version of this is what we, here in the US, must be going through. Here is my theory on the current situation:

We live in a society where politics is driven by money. In order to get money the politicians must pander to the needs of the very wealthy. In order to pander to the very wealthy the parties move to positions that are good for the very few wealthy donors they are courting. In order to keep the voters (and thus the power) so they can continue to court the wealthy, and the money to stay in power, they have to portray their opponents as being more extreme and less electable than they are themselves. To do this, they buy attack ads. In response, their opponents buy attack ads. In response, supporters of both sides buy attack ads.  Fed-up with all the attack ads, the audience starts tuning out and the attack ads lose their punch. So the parties do the only logical thing and...


Eventually we reach the inevitable conclusion of this coil of political madness:

The Objurgation Event Horizon!

Every ad on television is a political attack ad.

It becomes economically impossible for a television station to sell anything but political attack ads. The ads spread to radio, the internet, billboards, podcasts, tee-shirts, sweatshirts, tattoos, stained-glass windows, every conceivable media is eventually completely consumed by political attack ads.

The populace completely tunes out. Without advertising, the difference between similar products becomes as insignificant as most of us secretly had believed it was anyway. Brand loyalty is eroded. Every product is the same and so nobody buys anything. All the industry in the nation collapses.

All the industry except that involved in making political attack ads, that is.

The only people still benefiting from the process are the media, the politicians, and their backers. All the power is, in fact, transferred to the wealthy and their first act in power is to require a minimum daily per capita consumption of their political ads.

The citizens revolt, evolve into apolitical slugs, and trudge off to live in the cool darkness of the nearest non-operating factory.

Don't let this happen - please take action. Vote for the person who will do the best job regardless of the inane political attack ads. And let your politicians know that they should get back to the business of governing and stop the business of fund-raising and campaigning so early!

Wherever you are today, I hope you have fewer political ads than we do here!

Don Bergquist - May 01, 2014 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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