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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Image and Politics

~All the TV channels say Mitt Romney won the debate.~

As Americans, we are so obsessed with image and likability that we refuse to open our minds to facts, numbers, models, scales, or anything that could possibly help our nation.

This is a problem that has been perpetuated since I was a little girl. American history, the course we have to take eight billion semesters of, all we hear about is how great we are. But we're not. I mean, we are, but we're not flawless. These problems we have...they're not little. I don't know if Americans think they're stupid, or what, but start giving them figures and they tune out.

Don't count yourself out, Americans! You can understand this! You can grasp it. Have confidence.

But no, these days, if a gaffe-ridden politician can show up to a podium and not say something like, "I don't know why windows on planes don't open," he wins a debate.

Americans are proud of eschewing facts. They think it speaks to their character and judge of character if they "go with their gut."

It does, but not in the way we think it does. Obama is criticized for being the "celebrity President" but when he comes out muted with facts and projections to support his plans, no one pays attention.

Because Mitt Romney is doing his best impression of a bulldozer. Unfortunately for Romney, even with his repeatedly vague assertions, the fact checkers came through. For those still watching.

Something one of the PBS commentators kept saying is that Mittens won because he looked happier to be there.

Well, yeah.

He's got a shot at the presidency! Woot! I'd be psyched, too. Obama has to defend his right to be there. Not as exciting.

Plus, did anyone think that maybe Obama was peeved to be there because he had to spend his 20th anniversary talking to a Republican millionaire?

And talk about image, poor Jim Lehrer. Yeah, he had a hard time, but can anyone expect him to meekly shut the candidates up right after his job and livelihood has been threatened? You take Big Bird, you take Jim Lehrer. I'd be nervous, too.

Image means so much to us. Too much. And it frames everything we think about. So much so that when someone bucks the image train, everyone jumps behind them in a show of solidarity. They are so impressed with themselves about how image doesn't matter to them that they have to shout really loudly about it.

Just so you know, that doesn't count. Those people are just as obsessed with image as everyone else. The louder you talk about how awesome you are for embracing the little guy, be it the bus driver bullied or the new anchor who just broke all boundaries and kicked butt defending herself and her weight, it's still about image.

I don't know how we can move away from this. I just thought I'd point it out.

Anyway, for those of you interested in some specifics, here's a link to the plans brought up in the debate. (You'll have to click farther than the blog itself. The plans are in the links.)

Washington Post

Here's a distribution table, showing exactly where people fall and what should be defined as middle class.

(Spoiler, you're probably not rich.)

For those of you who don't really want to go through all that, let me bring you to my side the American way:

So, yeah, I'm an Obama supporter. Maybe I'll tell you why in the upcoming weeks. But it has nothing to do with gifs and macros and everything to do with policy and personal experience.

Whomever you want to be your next President...please vote. (Unless you're in PA. Free pass.)


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