Sunday, September 28, 2008

What Passes For a Political Post Around Here

We went to our favorite pub to watch the debate the other night, thinking that we might also meet some new people. It was a madhouse when we got there, so we ended up having to take a table outside the main room where people had gathered to watch. So much for meeting new people.

Out in the bar, both TVs were turned to the debate. One was tuned to CNN, one was tuned to Fox News-- I guess this was an attempt at appearing to be non-partisian, what with the whole "allowing Barack Obama's campaign staff to host a debate-watching party in the private room" thing. It didn't really make any difference, since both channels were broadcasting the exact same thing, down to the camera angle, without any commentary (during the debate, anyway). The volume was turned way up, but because of the size of the room and the number of people in it, it wasn't really possible to hear what was being said, so we had to rely on the closed captioning.

I love closed captioning both in concept and practice. And I especially love closed captioning in real time, because I get a little kick out of the small errors and too-literal interpretations of what's being said. Now, this is not intended to be a slam against the closed captioners, who have seriously mad typing skillz. It's kind of like how it makes me smile when the normally unflappable, perfect NPR announcers screw up. It's like "See, those are people like me!"

The CNN closed captioner was significantly slower than the Fox News closed captioner, which meant that every so often, he just skipped a couple of sentences to catch up. The Fox closed captioner was faster, but made lots of little mistakes. My two favorites: "Dwight David Ivan Her" (The follow up novel by Sir Walter Scott!) and "meow posturing" (I watched my cat do that just this morning, trying to reach her back paws during her morning devotions).

Forty-five minutes in, I just couldn't take it anymore. I am so effing sick of talking points and petty name calling from both sides. Why are we reduced to this drivel? And why doesn't anyone ever call John McCain out when he uses selective memory/ carefully framed half-truths as "facts" to "support" his points? I expected so much more of him during this campaign, and I am angry, angry, angry with him. I remember back when this whole thing was just getting underway... I told everyone and their dog that I was hoping against hope that we would get to see a McCain-Obama race, because I was certain that we'd get to see a race run with a respectful and real discussion of the difficult issues facing our country, a discussion that would allow for reasonable people to disagree. This, I suppose, should be taken as proof positive that I am, all appearances to the contrary and all snarkiness aside, an irretrievable optimist.

I am finding this race much more difficult to follow, emotionally, than even the 2004 campaign. I'm starting to believe that the greatest danger we are facing as a nation is our inability to have a civil discourse and our divisiveness-- artificially induced by the media, or maybe by the most vocal and extreme elements of the political system. I can't believe that I really have so little in common with a conservative voter that we can't find common ground on many, if not most, issues. And I find it increasingly more infuriating that people are being encouraged to disdain or even hate other people on the basis of differing opinions on issues that the vast majority of people don't even really understand, just because Oprah or James Dobson says so.

P.S., because Paca's blog reminded me: is awesome and informative, and so is the League of Women Voters.



At 3:24 AM , Blogger pacatrue said...

When I was reading your blog post on bloglines, I was thinking of how I would remind you of at the end of the post. Um, nevermind.

I seriously have a fetish currently.

Here's a scary thought: Maybe Obama and McCain are running more substantive campaigns than we would have seen from the other candidates and this is as good as it gets! Shudder.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home