As a general rule I’m optimistic about the intentions of those who govern because I think in general good people go into politics with the sincere intention of making things better. That said, I favor the type of small government intended by the founders, who roll over in their graves which each election, staggered by the scale and sweep of modern governments here and in other “democracies” around the world.
Power was supposed to rest in the hearts and minds of an informed populace, yet we the people have chosen to distance ourselves from government to the degree it’s become an abstraction for most of us at the local, state, and national levels.
The outcome of this election clearly “proves” our system really does allow for significant and peaceful change. Yet it also suggests that our choices are confined to only two — and to my mind somewhat equally inadequate — visions of how we should step into our uncertain American future. Why can’t the pendulum swing sideways for a change rather than back and forth between these two inadequate visions of the right path for America?
Is “democracy” the best word to describe the American political experience? I thought I’d coined the term “Advertocracy” but found a nice Canadian article here about the concept back in 2004.
Clearly our elections, the outcomes of which seem increasingly to depend on razor thin margins, are best described as marketing productions rather than the product of a well-informed citizenry acting on democratic principles. I’m not as alarmed by this as many “anti-advertising” people who fail to see that we all practice forms of advertising in one way or another whether we are telling a fish story about a life experience, beefing up a resume, talking up our favorite movie, or buying time on TV to say “Vote for Me!”. If you blog for your favorite candidate is that advertising? Of course it is.
Communication categories are breaking down quickly, I hope in favor of transparency. Transparent, full disclosure is a better way to measure integrity than “commercialization”, which we all practice to varying degrees of success.
Yet the fact remains that our election results are largely the product of last minute activity by those least concerned about the outcome based on their perceptions of last minute “sound bites” and largely negative ads. There has GOT to be a better way but in the meantime …
God Bless America, and God Bless Advertising.